In a business environment, being good at what you do doesn’t necessarily also make you good at managing people. This is a challenge that many leaders face as they rise through the ranks of a business - how do you go from being promoted to leadership to actually being a quality leader? The answer lies in the art of people management and these are the key secrets to success that every leader needs to know.
Opt for collaboration. One of the best ways to get teams to function well is to invite them to be part of a decision-making process - rather than taking decisions for them. This means asking the right questions of your team, offering guidance and sharing examples but not actually providing the answers. It’s nurturing this collaborative approach that will make people feel part of something larger - and also more willing to take ownership for, and commit to, outcomes.
Allow people to be accountable. If you’re the kind of manager who will step in and finish off work where others have not been able to then you may feel like you’re helping them out - but this can actually damage relationships in the long term. Doing this means that people in the team don’t learn to be accountable for their actions and responsibilities, which can damage trust and performance. Instead, get your team to agree to being more accountable - this starts with ensuring that people thoroughly think through the commitments they make and are also willing to honour them.
Focus on connections over tasks. It can be easy, as a leader and manager, to get very caught up in tasks and performance and forget about the people who are completing them. Relationships are what underpin great team performance and these take time and effort to develop. That might be something as simple as giving people on the same team the chance to get to know each other better through social events or team lunches. It might be about collective activities that promote relaxation and stress management, such as yoga or lunchtime walks. For leaders it’s also much more about listening - rather than talking - to establish those open communication channels on which connections are built.
Be transparent and share often. Keeping people in the dark because they “don’t need to know” can seriously damage morale and have a negative impact on trust and engagement. For example, if a project that everyone has worked on together doesn’t make it to launch, not explaining why can leave people feeling frustrated and unmotivated. In that situation, transparency would be acknowledging that people need to know why - even if they don’t agree.
Learning the art of “no” is important. Setting clear boundaries and being unambiguous with your “no” is really important. Equally as important is taking the time to explain why something is a “no” so that resentment and confusion don’t build up around it.
The art of people management has changed hugely over the past decade and we know so much more now about how to be a great leader. Find out more by booking on to our People Management training course...