What is People Management
While the term “people management” is relatively broad and can mean a variety of things depending on the context, we define people management as the ability to train, motivate, and organize a group of people in a professional setting.
People management is a useful skill, especially for leaders in an organization. After all, a company is not just about the product or services it provides. The vast majority of companies need to manage people (employees) to work and act in effective ways in order to achieve their goals.
Of course, people are not easy to manage. Every person is complex, unique, and different. Some people respond well to certain types of motivation, while others are demotivated by the same incentives. Some people are straightforward in their speech, while others are passive.
Because no two people are exactly alike, people management can be extremely difficult. While some employees are talented in their field, their lack of people management skills may prevent them from receiving a promotion to a management position. These skills and traits are often what set leaders apart from their fellow employees.
Learning to R.E.A.D. People
When it comes to people management, we like to use the acronym R.E.A.D.
After all, great people management starts when you learn to R.E.A.D. people.
What does R.E.A.D. stand for?
R – Relationships
E – Empowerment
A – Appreciation
D – Discussion
When your people management strategy is built around these four concepts, you can do amazing things. Let’s break each one down a little further so we can get the full picture.
Human trust is built on relationships. If you do not know someone, then you cannot trust them. The first step to becoming a great people manager is to build relationships with the humans you will manage.
Relationships form from being open, honest, genuine, and vulnerable. They form when there is a sincere desire to get to know one another. They form when agendas are set aside and egos are put away. Every great people manager will attempt to create individual relationships with people who work alongside them.
When these relationships are formed, trust is created. Once trust is established, magic can happen. When trust exists, assignments are completed faster, communication is more fluid and honest, and the benefit of the doubt is given when mistakes are made.
The best people managers are typically not micro-managers. They do not spend their days diving into the details and nit-picking every aspect of the work done by their team. Instead, they empower their people to make decisions on their own.
Empowering people is a way to extend trust. It’s a way to tell someone that you believe in them and that you have confidence in their abilities. When people feel empowered, they tend to perform at a higher level. Rather than being worried about every decision or possible mistake, they instead have conviction behind what they’re doing, and they bring out the best in themselves.
Naturally, this is what any great leader wants. The goal of the leader should be to have each of their people perform as effectively and efficiently as possible. When your team is empowered and confident, you are doing your job as a people manager.
It’s no secret that people like to be praised and recognized for their accomplishments. When you do something for someone, it’s always a pleasant feeling when you hear the words, “thank you!”
Being in a business setting does not somehow negate a human’s desire to feel that their work is appreciated. Great people managers recognize this and are quick to show appropriate amounts of praise, gratitude, and appreciation for the work completed by their team.
You might push back and say something like, “why should I thank my employees for simply doing their job? After all, they’re being paid to do this work.”
We’d respond to a comment like that with two points. First, you do not need to heap praise on someone for every little thing they do. We’re not saying that at all. But when an employee really goes above and beyond, or when they finish a long, difficult task, you should absolutely recognize them for that achievement.
Our second point is this. Although employees are getting paid for their work, they do not equate this payment with praise, appreciation, or gratitude. The paycheck is transactional, nothing more. A great people manager recognizes this and goes out of their way to show appreciation for a job well done.
Of course, in relationships with anyone, whether it be a best friend or a co-worker you’ve only known for a month, not everything will go smoothly. You’ll hit rough patches, things won’t work out as planned, or you’ll miscommunicate from time to time. This is normal and expected.
Great people managers do not overreact to things like this. Instead, they have discussions. The point of these discussions is to share honest thoughts and feelings about what happened or what when wrong. If both parties can come to the table and feel comfortable speaking openly, then these discussions will be a success.
Additionally, sometimes these discussions may include difficult conversations about performance or behavioral issues. While occasionally uncomfortable, even these discussions will go smoothly if you’ve followed the rest of the R.E.A.D. formula.
Sometimes people management goes beyond relationships. Eddy can help you manage your HR data all in one place!
While people are often complex, the strategy you employ to manage them does not have to be. By learning how to R.E.A.D. people, you’ll build trust and engagement. While you may have differing personalities, opinions, or perspectives, you can overcome differences by building relationships, empowering individuals, appreciating good work, and having open, candid discussions.