The Top 5 People Management Skills

Want to get ahead? Then whatever role you are in, you’re going to need to know how to manage people. Yes, even if they don’t work for you and it feels like you don’t have any authority over them. Managing people is about more than bossing around your direct reports! In today’s business environment, many employees have to get things done through a matrix organization and that means that you don’t have staff working directly for you but you still need to work with and alongside your colleagues to deliver business objectives.

Management SkillsSo, what are the core skills you need to be able to manage people? Here are our top 5.

1. Communication

You need to be able to communicate effectively, whether that’s in writing or in person. And hand in hand with that goes the ability to be able to really listen to what’s being said. Some people are naturally good at communicating and for others, it’s a skill that takes work. The good news is that you can learn how to be better at communicating, and you can improve your written and presentation skills.

If you think this is an area where you are weak, talk to your manager about going on some training and then apply those techniques back at the workplace. Alternatively, seek out someone who you respect and who has good communication skills and ask them for some tips.

2. Problem Solving

Being able to solve problems is a skill that will benefit you overall, not just when it comes to managing people. Can you analyze the root cause of issues and then develop approaches to stop them happening again? Can you develop strategies to help the team move forward?

While these might not sound directly relevant to managing people, they are because it’s important that the individuals concerned know that they can raise problems with you and that you’ll be able to do something about it. It’s also a great help when it comes to resolving conflicts between team members.

The best thing to do when faced with a problem is to get to the facts as quickly as possible. Take blame out of the equation and work to establish what went wrong and what the options are for putting it right. It’s easier to do this as a group, so get the team involved in problem solving as you’ll get a better result.

3. Interpersonal skills

‘Interpersonal skills’ is a bucket term for everything that’s to do with working collaboratively. This includes negotiation, influencing, motivating your team members and colleagues and being cooperative. In short, being easy to work with and pleasant to be around, but still being able to get others to help you get the job done!

Again, some people will be a natural at this and find it easy to get on with others. Some will struggle – if that’s you, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Surround yourself with tools and techniques to make collaboration and team work easier. For example, an instant messaging tool will help you collaborate with the rest of the team. You can go on training courses to get techniques for negotiating and influencing, although our top tip is to put personal agendas aside and go for a solution that is best for your business or company.

4. Organizational ability

If you are managing a group of people, whether they work for you or not, you have to be organized so that you can organize them. You should be able to coordinate the tasks for the group, set goals and have attention to detail.

You might not be naturally organized, but there are plenty of tools you can use to help. Get task management software on your smartphone and record everything you need to do. Prioritize your tasks and those of the team using a ‘high, medium, low’ rating, so you can focus on the most important things first. And don’t get distracted working on urgent tasks when actually these can be quite low priority in the big picture.

5. Management

Yes, managing people requires the ability to… manage! Being a good people manager involves being able to make decisions fairly as well as coaching your team members when they need it. Coaching is the ability to get the best out of an individual while not telling them exactly what to do. However, in some situations you’ll need to be able to give clear directions. For example, when a new member joins the team and hasn’t completed this task before they will need you to explain exactly what’s required. Someone who is an old hand at this activity will find that approach patronizing, so you’ll need to modify your approach to get the best results from the individuals concerned.

Managing others successfully is a blend of a number of different skills, techniques and project management software but these 5 areas are a good place to start if you want to build your people management skills. Why not pick one area today and focus on improving that over the next 3 months?

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