People management skills—beyond simply being able to communicate and collaborate with others—are essential for success in any workplace. Effective people manager skills involve the ability to understand and motivate individuals, build strong teams, and resolve conflicts. You can achieve this through clear communication, respect, persuasion, trust, openness, and more. Let’s take a closer look at these and other skills employees, especially managers, should have.
ZipRecruiter can help you find job seekers with excellent people management skills by allowing you to sort, review, and rate your candidates using specific skills and keywords found in their resumes. Start today with a free trial!
Communication tops the list of soft skills and people skills employees need to be successful in their careers. Employees and managers must be able to listen to co-workers, customers, subordinates, and superiors and then respond in an appropriate manner. This means varying your style according to your audience as well as being able to coherently and convincingly share your thoughts.
Without clear and efficient communication, teams can quickly become disjointed, leading to decreased productivity, missed deadlines, and a lack of collaboration. To achieve effective communication in the workplace, establish an open and inclusive culture where all employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas.
Did You Know? According to a recent workplace communications survey, 66% of leaders think they are aligned with employees, but only 44% of employees agree. This means there is room for improvement in communication (along with these other skills).
2. Showing Respect
Communication only goes so far if respect is not part of it. When employees don’t feel respected, they are less likely to speak up in meetings or share ideas, and it adds to workplace stress.
Respecting your employees not only fosters a positive work environment but also enhances productivity and employee engagement. One way to demonstrate respect is by actively listening to their ideas, concerns, and feedback. By allowing them to express themselves, you not only validate their opinions but also make them feel valued as individuals.
Another way to show respect is by recognizing and appreciating your employees’ contributions. This can be done through simple acts such as acknowledging their achievements publicly or privately thanking them for their hard work. When employees feel appreciated for their efforts, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to their tasks.
Respect, however, may be interpreted differently by employees in different generations. Learn more in our articles about managing Generation Z employees and millennials, as well as statistics about handling millennials in the workplace.
Persuasion involves influencing others to adopt a certain belief, attitude, or behavior willingly and voluntarily. Managers with strong persuasion skills can effectively rally their team members around a common goal or idea, facilitating better collaboration and productivity.
By presenting a compelling case and clearly articulating the benefits and rationale behind these ideas, managers can overcome resistance and gain the support of their team members. Persuasive managers can also effectively communicate expectations, motivate employees to achieve specific goals, and resolve conflicts through rationale.
If you’re looking to improve your leadership and persuasion skills, start with our article on management styles.
4. Fostering Trust
When employees feel trusted by their employer, it instills a sense of confidence and empowerment in them. This encourages them to take ownership of their work and responsibilities, leading to increased motivation and higher performance levels. They tend to respond positively and perform at or above expectations.
Feeling trusted also fosters an environment that promotes creativity and innovation, especially in a remote work environment. When employees know they are trusted to make decisions and take risks without fear of failure or repercussions, they are more likely to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems. You can make your employees feel trusted with scheduled performance reviews, clearly communicated expectations, and allowing for open communication.
Managers should be open to hearing about problems, errors, and other workplace challenges and respond fairly and impartially. By doing so, they can actively address any issues before they snowball into major setbacks for the team.
This fosters an environment of transparency and collaboration, where individuals are more likely to support one another through challenging times rather than pointing fingers or placing blame. A fair response from a manager can also prevent recurring problems by focusing on finding solutions rather than dwelling on mistakes.
Learn more about how to coach employees to develop their skills, address performance issues, and set goals for improvement.
No one likes to work with someone who loses their temper. The best leaders know how to be calm in a crisis, look at employee mistakes as learning opportunities rather than occasions for discipline, and keep a calm and focused outlook in stressful situations.
One way to practice patience is by taking a step back and gaining a broader perspective. By seeing the bigger picture, you understand that delays or setbacks are often just temporary obstacles on the path toward achieving your goals. Additionally, by setting realistic expectations for yourself and others, you create an environment where patience can thrive.
Learn more about how to handle conflict resolution within the workplace.
Thoughtfulness involves keeping your employees in mind. It’s expressed in many ways—empathy for a co-worker having problems at home or recognizing that team members in an argument may each have valid points. However, 50% of today’s leaders cite understanding what’s important to employees as a top challenge.
Thoughtfulness also means remembering to give credit where credit is due, as well as smaller things like remembering a birthday or a work anniversary. To remember specific life events of your employees, consider setting up a database that lists all the vital information for each employee. You can create an employee database using an Excel spreadsheet. You can then use that information to sync to your calendar to remind you of birthdays, anniversaries, or other important events.
The opposite of micromanagement, macromanagement means a more hands-off style of leadership. Macromanagers focus more on the overall outcome and less on the day-to-day operations, giving workers more freedom to get the job done. Macromanagement requires trust, leading to a less stressful, more creative working environment that lets employees grow. That can lead to more job satisfaction and more time for managers to concentrate on the big ideas that can grow a business.
One way you can ensure your employees are performing at their best while remaining hands-off is by allowing them to job shadow a more senior co-worker. This method creates an environment where employees can learn hands-on how to excel and grow in their careers through a peer.
9. Keeping Meetings on Track
How many times have you been in a meeting that ran long and accomplished nothing or left frustrated because one or two people dominated without contributing? Running a good meeting is an important people management skill, and it involves preparation as well as being able to stop employees from taking up the scheduled hour with sidebars about other projects.
By clearly defining the goals of the meeting, attendees can come prepared and stay focused on the tasks at hand. Additionally, organizers should establish ground rules for participants to respect time limits and avoid excessive tangents or unrelated discussions.
To enhance meeting productivity, it can be beneficial to designate someone as a facilitator or mediator. This individual can help guide discussions, manage interruptions, and ensure that everyone’s ideas are heard while still keeping the conversation aligned with the meeting’s objectives. Having a designated leader can also help maintain accountability among participants and minimize any potential power struggles or dominating personalities.
Honesty is more than a value—it’s a skill. It’s not always easy to be honest, especially when delivering bad news. Yet not dealing with an issue to avoid conflict can be dishonest. So, in addition to valuing honesty as a quality, you need to work on giving honest opinions in a way that does not offend and have the courage to be honest even when someone might be hurt.
Disciplining an employee is not easy, but it is part of being honest with your workers and yourself. Read our article on how to discipline an employee for creating and managing a fair program for all.
Did You Know? 40% of employees in a recent communications survey say they want more thoughtful and insightful details from their leaders. Using honesty when communicating with employees can help you appear more thoughtful.
11. Giving Fair Feedback
While linked to honesty and communication, giving fair feedback is its own skill. It involves understanding the employee’s role, talents, and needs and creating achievable goals with them. It’s also important to keep track of their work and look for trends that should be praised or addressed.
One important aspect to keep in mind when giving feedback is to focus on the behavior or outcome, rather than the individual. By separating the person from their actions, you ensure that your feedback remains fair and objective. It also helps avoid labeling individuals or making assumptions about their capabilities.
12. Supporting Team Morale
It’s no surprise that low employee morale can affect goal attainment, productivity, employee turnover, and ultimately your profitability. Supporting morale involves communication, thoughtfulness, honesty, and openness. It also requires understanding your employee workload and not overloading them with projects and tasks (especially busy work), and keeping an eye out for signs of burnout.
You can achieve this by having your employee’s job rotate—the act of shifting employees from one position to another within the same company or department. This allows employees to glean new skills and boost their overall engagement.
Check out our article on effective strategies to prevent employee burnout.
Decisiveness is an invaluable skill in an effective people management experience. Leaders who possess this quality can make quick, calculated decisions in the best interest of their team and organization. While there are times when speed is vital, the real skill is knowing when and how to seek out the needed information and having proper judgment in decision-making.
Being decisive as a leader sends a message to employees about accountability and responsibility. When managers make timely decisions, they show they are willing to take ownership of successes and failures. This cultivates a culture of personal responsibility within the team, encouraging individuals to step up and act rather than waiting for someone else to lead the way.
14. Fostering Creativity
Managers that encourage creativity possess important people and leadership skills. Allowing creativity gives employees time to think and bounce ideas, even unworkable ones, off each other.
Managers who encourage creativity display strong empathy toward their employees. They understand the importance of recognizing individual strengths and providing customized support to each team member. By tailoring feedback and guidance according to individual needs, these managers motivate their employees by acknowledging their unique contributions.
15. Leading by Example
Good managers should set an example. It’s not enough to simply delegate tasks and give instructions; you must also demonstrate the behaviors and qualities expected from employees. Setting a positive example inspires your team members to be more productive, motivated, and committed to achieving organizational goals.
Additionally, when managers lead by example, it creates a sense of unity within the team. Employees feel that their manager is invested in their success and well-being, which fosters a supportive environment where everyone works together toward common objectives. This can increase employee morale and satisfaction, resulting in higher engagement and productivity.
You must develop a good work ethic of showing up when expected, putting in the extra effort, maintaining a positive attitude, and getting your work done.
Check out some inspiring quotes from managers on what they consider key traits for leaders.
How Can I Improve My People Management Skills?
Mastering human management skills requires continuous learning and self-reflection. It includes being aware of your own biases or blind spots while actively seeking feedback from employees to grow as a leader.
To have effective people management techniques and the ability to motivate individuals toward shared objectives, managers should do the following:
- Articulate expectations
- Provide constructive feedback
- Actively listen to employees
- Understand that each individual has unique strengths, weaknesses, and motivators
- Take the time to get to know team members on a personal level
- Identify what drives them to excel professionally
- Find ways to align those motivations with organizational goals
To keep your workforce, you need good people skills. Focus on the skills discussed above as part of your hiring efforts and ongoing professional development initiatives to ensure you don’t lose valuable employees because of poor people management skills.