People management: what makes an effective manager?

People management: what makes an effective manager?

In order to be a good boss, it is important to be able to manage people effectively. After all, it is ground-level employees that are responsible for much of an organisation's physical output - whether this is in term of goods or services.

Managing people effectively is vital if they are to work to optimum productivity levels each day - remember happy staff members tend to be more hard working and loyal to their organisation.

So if you are working in a managerial position, what should you be doing to encourage the best possible performance from your team? What exactly do the best bosses do to be successful?

Here is our list of top behaviours and characteristics for effective people management:

1. You understand the value of employees

First of all, bosses need to appreciate the role employees play in the organisation and the contribution they make on a daily basis. If they underestimate the effort put in by staff members - and the value they add - this can impact on the way they handle individuals. Employees should be viewed as a valuable asset to be nurtured and protected, not merely exploited for short-term gain.

2. You express gratitude

Following on from this point, managers should show their appreciation for a job well done. Where possible they should provide positive feedback to workers, but simply saying 'thank you' can make all the difference to many employees. It is a basic human courtesy, one that is free to extend but can have significant positive effects. Expressing gratitude or staff recognition can help develop loyalty and ensure workers are willing to invest maximum time and effort each day.

3. You communicate clearly

Employees need to understand very clearly what is expected of them, for any individual task on any given day. This means clearly communicating effectively with workers, and ensuring they know what they are meant to be doing. Managers should be equally comfortable talking one-on-one, or in front of their team as a whole.

4. You listen effectively

It is also important to make time for employees, and listen to what they have to say. Often this will be about work matters, but not always. Sometimes, staff members simply need to let off steam or have somebody to confide in about a particular issue.

5. You make decisions

Being decisive is important for managers in the workplace. A team of employees is ready to follow your lead, but they need to be given appropriate direction. If you are incapable of making a decision and communicating this clearly to your staff members, everyone could find themselves left in limbo.

6. You trust your employees to achieve

Good managers are effective delegators - and this works on two levels. They have the ability to distribute tasks to free up time in their own working day for people management, and they also trust workers to handle important tasks. If employees feel they are being backed by their boss, there is an added incentive to ensure they do a good job. With professional pride a factor, they may wish to prove to their boss was right to trust them.

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7. You give your employees freedom

Micro-managers tend to alienate employees very quickly - it is important to give workers space to develop and to find solutions to the challenges they face. Employees do not want to feel like robots - it is important that they can make decisions relating to their own workload where appropriate.

8. You resolve conflicts

Sometimes, it is necessary for managers to be a good mediator, particularly if two members of the team have fallen out or just cannot see eye to eye. For the sake of overall performance and work productivity, it is important to resolve such situations quickly and effectively before they spiral out of control.

9. You're helpful to your employees

Saying thank you to employees is one thing, but employers should also look to express gratitude for a job well done through their actions. This can boost their morale and also ensure they view their manager in a positive light. Doing so without prompting can be especially beneficial, as this shows the worker that their needs are being considered. Giving your staff the chance to excel or improve their skills through employee training is also a great way to help.

10. You set a good example

Employees are looking for somebody they can look up to, and aspire to emulate. Strong team leaders are ethical, honest, collaborative, creative, empowering, innovative, dedicated, and trustworthy.

11. You're honest

Being open and transparent is part of setting a good example. If employees believe they are being misled, or salient information is being withheld, this can lead to a breakdown of trust and undermine the employer/employee relationship.

12. You're a high achiever

In order for employees to buy in to what their manager is saying, and trust their judgement, they need to respect them professionally. This means being a proven performer - somebody with the skills and knowledge required to do the job. If a manager has graduated from the role employees are working in, this demonstrates their capability and should help them gain the backing of their team.

This article originally appeared as People Management: What Makes an Effective Manager? on the UK Robert Half blog.

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