10 Keys to Success for: People Management

1. Don’t try to be someone you are not.

The temptation is to emulate the previous manager. This is bad news as you are not the previous manager, you are you. Think about managers you have enjoyed working for and identify what it was they did that gave you that feeling. Also, think about managers you have not enjoyed working for and identify what it was they did that gave you that feeling. These two activities will give you a framework from which to start your management career.

2. Start as you mean to go on

Set clear standards and then model them – always. People respond positively to certainty as they generally don’t like surprises. Everyone needs to know what is expected of them and clear standards will help them understand that this is the way we are going to do things around here. It doesn’t have to be dictatorial either. Why not ask your team to put together their ideas on what the standards should be and then agree them with you. That way they have the ownership so you don’t need to motivate them to live by the standards.

It’s a funny thing, your people need you to tell them the core fundamentals of ‘how’ you will allow your business to be run – and then they want you to let them get on with finding the best way how to do it ! In fact there is no people management conflict here. The standards you set for your people enables them to get all creative with their solutions – once they have the criteria of what’s allowed and what isn’t. The standards you create with them in the ‘way’ your business wilol run is vital. A seemingly restrictive environment frees up the thinking and enables incredible success. Sometimes there are rules – then inside those rules there are no rules.

3. Manage and Lead

Your people see the name on your badge, or your door (or your parking space) and they expect you to do what’s expected of you. They want you to lead from the front and show you’re in charge. This is about leadership; being the last on the ship and heading the charge into battle. When things get tough you dig in and show up.

Managing is about making sure you recognize what your responsibilities are and deliver them, and only them. People management skills deliver by giving others some responsibility and letting them get on with it. And that you are accountable for it all. No-one else; no shirking and blaming others. It’s you.

Managing and leading are not the same thing. Some good managers are not good leaders. The art is in knowing when to delegate. You will be developing your staff if you delegate leadership experiences. You will still retain overall control because you will always retain accountability, so learn to trust your staff – they don’t have a choice with you.

4. Assemble a great team

To make the best of your people resource, it’s best to leverage the great talents of all your team mates. Try to squeeze their potential fully by guiding, supporting and coaching them to realize common goals.

As you know, the role of a manager is to deliver results and more. Managing people is all about a legacy of building and utilizing capability totally. Unifying individual talents and making the whole bigger that the sum of the parts.

5. Always keep results in mind

The key point is that a manager has to deliver results, day to day, quarter by quarter, year by year business and profits or other success measures expected of him. It’s what pays you and your team.

A manager has a responsibility to keep your eye on the ball and deliver. Your team will look up to its manager to lead them to success, with their help, obviously. They put their faith in you and expect you to work hard enough to meet the targets.

6. Minimise staff turnover

Retaining staff has benefits for your business. Continuity and stability become part of your business’ culture and staff feel they belong to and take pride in the business. Skills and competencies are maintained in key business areas and productivity is often increased. Unwanted staff turnover can have a negative effect on your business, especially if those who go are key to the success and continuity of your business or leave as a result of being treated unfairly.

Pay is rarely the only reason why people leave, although low pay levels are often a disincentive to stay with a business.

When you run a business it is good to be aware of factors that commonly affect staff turnover rates, so that you can take steps to reduce them.

7. Involve employees

Good people management extends across all areas of your business. Recruitment, training, working practices and working environment are all areas where improvements will benefit both the business and your employees. Involving employees in reviews and developing open channels of communication can help ensure you’re not overlooking obvious improvements e.g. production staff would be aware of inefficient production processes while customer service staff would be aware of common sources of complaints.

It can also help you gain employee trust, commitment and buy-in when implementing changes, if employees have been involved in the process.

Aspects of your business to consider in terms of improving people management include:

• flexible working conditions, such as part time work, job sharing and flexible hours
• incorporating diverse cultures and styles into the workplace by providing equal opportunities
• offering training and development
• staff facilities, such as a lunch room, need to be welcoming and sufficiently large
• clear definitions of jobs and lines of command, including regular reviews
• communicating well with employees, including setting up formal procedures for complaints as well as informal opportunities to give feedback

Establishing a process to resolve complaints is an important part of your legal responsibilities as an employer. Firstly you should attempt to resolve a complaint through direct discussion and negotiation with the employees involved. Existing workplace agreements or awards will have procedures for resolving disputes.

8. Be very determined

It’s important to stick with your guns when results and achievements are concerned. You have greated the standards which are immovable, and now it’s time to keep your eye on the ball. On a very clear target. Sometimes when things aren’t going as well, it could be tempting to compromise with your people management skills, on both the standards of your business, as well as the goals and targets.

Yet this just leads to sloppy discipline and an acceptance that you aren’t for real.

You bend under pressure – and even give way. So now is the time to be very determined.

9. Be very accountable

Respect for any manager has to be earned. It comes from people seeing your integrity on show with every breath you take. So, when the chips are down, it’s up to you to use your people management skills on yourself as well as with others and accept that the business success or otherwise, is down to you, and you alone.

No excuses. Nobody else. You.

Your people will only learn that there are no excuses in business – only indivuduals who stand up to be accountable, win or lose.

10. Be trustworthy

If you want the best from your people management skills, you have to earn the trust of every one of your people. Trust can take years to build and but a few moments to destroy.

Trust is about:-

- Keeping your promises – or not making them
- Telling the truth
- Appreciating others needs and circumstances
- Sticking with what you say you will
- Listening to others and saying less
- Sharing information
- Having no favorites
- Being consistent
- Telling people to their face, not to others behind their backs
- Being sensitised so that your intuition works
- Assuming nothing
- Saying sorry when you’ve been in the wrong

People management is quite a challenge for many, yet if you get a few ground rules just right, you will be able to leverage the value of each and every one of your people without doing anything to their disadvantage – in fact they will be positive winners as well. Not to metion a very successful business indeed.