When moving into an employee management role, everybody, and if not everybody then at least most of us, make mistakes, sometimes glaring mistakes that come back to haunt us. However, mistakes are there to learn from, and anyone who wants to become a good and possibly highly regarded people manager will strive to learn from them. Here we provide a few tips that if you take on board should help you achieve your goals and become the best people manager you can be.
1. Be truthful and honest
Nobody wants a liar as their manager. Deceiving your employees or being less than honest will demotivate them and make them feel insecure. Keeping them informed of any changes that may affect them, and answering their worries and concerns honestly, will make them feel valued and a respected member of the team.
2. Be positive
Both positivity and negativity are highly infections in any work environment. As a people manager, you should focus on the positive side of the coin. This applies even if you disagree with what’s coming down from above. That isn’t to say that you should break the honesty rule stated above but always focus on the plus side. Never forget that you are the boss.
3. Avoid micromanaging
Team members will appreciate being allowed to get on with the job without too much interference from the boss. Unfortunately, some managers can’t help but get involved in the detail, which frustrates the staff and leads to resentment. The more responsibility you give them, the harder they will work. Try to encourage them to care about what the business aims to achieve.
4. Be brave and learn to delegate
Delegating is both an art and a science and is much more complicated than you think. As you carry the can for others’ mistakes, the tendency is to hang on to the reins. Instead, trust your team to make decisions for themselves and provide adequate support. It’s a matter of finding the right balance – you will find you get better at it with practice.
5. Give praise where praise is due
A good people manager praises his team when things go right and takes personal responsibility when things go wrong. So always be generous with praise when praise is due and supportive when things go wrong. That’s not to say that you should avoid criticism, but do it discreetly, privately, and positively when you need to criticise.
6. Absorb the pressure
When you are under pressure from above to achieve project goals, try to absorb that pressure rather than pass it on to the team. Of course, you should inform them of the situation and encourage them to make an extra effort but do it with kindness and encouragement rather than cracking the whip.
7. Don’t overwork your team
They say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and while this is to an extent true, it can result in overwork, decreased productivity and potentially burnout. Knowing when somebody is working too much can be challenging to spot, but always encourage your staff to take time off when they need it and always take their allocated leave allowance. Leave management is an essential facet of managing people.
8. Develop a feedback culture
Feedback is crucial in any well-managed team. Good managers develop a feedback culture in which everyone is equipped to give and receive feedback to their colleagues and bosses, including you. Honest feedback is a great way to develop as a team and for you to grow as a people manager.
9. Know something about everyone
One of the best people managers the author has come across made sure that he knew the name and something about every employee who worked for him – over two hundred people. He worked hard on it, and it paid off. We all liked him, relished his visits, and were determined to work a little bit harder for him.
10. Be your best
Why not, every morning, decide that today you will be the very best version of yourself? Make that promise to yourself and keep it. The positivity you will create will not only make you feel so much better about yourself, but it will also rub off on the members of your team.
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