It’s no secret that managers have a huge influence on the productivity and morale of a team.

Have you ever worked for a manager who just seemed to have all the people management skills? You know the type: they communicate clearly, delegate tasks effectively, motivate and inspire their team, and make sound decisions that lead to positive outcomes. You might have wondered how they developed those skills and wished you could be more like them.

The good news is that developing effective people management skills is possible, no matter where you are in your career. In this article, we’re going to cover 10 people skills managers need to master, explain why they’re so important, and give you practical tips and insights you can use to enhance your team’s performance.

So, whether you’re a new manager looking to improve your skills or an experienced leader looking to stay current, you’re in the right place.

#1 Communication

Unsurprisingly, communication is the foundation of a strong working relationship. That’s why it’s one of the first people management skills on many lists, including this. Great communication is not just about giving orders; it’s about creating a culture of open and honest communication that fosters trust, collaboration and innovation.

Effective communication means being able to listen actively, provide feedback constructively, and deliver your message clearly and concisely. One of the hallmarks of effective communication is active listening. This means paying attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and summarising to ensure you understand the message correctly. Leaders who actively listen are capable of acknowledging team members’ perspectives and showing empathy, making an individual feel heard and a valued member of the team.

Lastly, it’s also important to be able to deliver and receive feedback in a constructive manner. Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, it’s essential to deliver it in a way that is clear, specific, and actionable. Focus on the behaviour, not the person, and provide concrete examples of what they did well or could improve

By mastering these communication skills, you can create a workplace where ideas and feedback flow freely, and your team feels heard and valued.

#2 Delegation

As the saying goes “No man is an island”, and the same can be said for managers who rely on their team members to achieve success. That’s why delegation is a crucial people management skill for managers to master.

What sets good managers apart is how they approach delegation. It’s not just about assigning tasks to your team members, but empowering them to take ownership and responsibility for their work. Effective delegation means using people management skills to understand each member’s skills, strengths and weaknesses and assigning tasks that match.

Good managers also set clear expectations when delegating, they are specific about what needs to be done, the deadline and provide any guidelines or resources that may be needed. It’s important that team members understand why their task is essential and how it fits into the bigger picture so they feel like they’ve contributed to the organisation’s goals.

#3 Motivation

There are several factors that can cause team morale to be low, such as a lack of clear goals or direction, poor communication, insufficient resources or support, conflicts within the team, or a lack of recognition and appreciation.

Good managers are able to create a positive work environment and motivate team members to improve their work performance and job satisfaction. Motivation is an essential people management skill that can raise morale and improve a team’s performance and job satisfaction.

This can be done through opportunities for growth and development such as training programs, mentoring, or stretch assignments that help team members develop their skills and reach their full potential. Don’t forget to give regular feedback, praise or rewards whenever a team member does a good job! can also go a long way in boosting morale and job satisfaction.

When your team members feel supported and valued, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. By mastering motivation as one of the essential people management skills, you can create a culture of high performance and job satisfaction.

#4 Mentoring

Studies show that mentoring can lead to greater career success that includes promotions, raises and increased opportunities. In fact, organisations that embrace mentoring see higher employee engagement, retention and knowledge sharing.

Mentoring is a vital aspect of people management skills a good manager should have. Effective mentoring requires good communication skills, active listening and empathy. As a manager, you’re in a position to understand the unique needs and career goals of each team member,
enabling you to provide advice and insights based on your experience

You can use this to help team members identify their strengths and weaknesses, set career goals, and develop skills to achieve those goals. By doing so, you can build strong relationships with team members to enhance trust and foster loyalty.

#5 Performance Management

Performance management involves setting expectations, feedback and goals for a team member. Managers play a crucial role in helping team members understand what is expected of them, how they are performing and how they can improve their work performance.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are one of the most well-known performance management techniques. Good managers implement performance management processes using SMART goals. They are quick to recognise and reward good performance, and at the same time, take appropriate measures to support team members who may be struggling.

A well-implemented performance management process will create a constant sense of progression, have team members feeling satisfied with their work, and keep everyone working towards a common objective.

#6 Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a critical component of effective people management skills in today’s workplace. Good managers are able to recognise, understand and manage their own emotions as well as their team members’ emotions. They practise empathy and are able to communicate things with tact and in a constructive manner that doesn’t leave the other party feeling aggrieved or attacked.

The first step in developing emotional intelligence is self-awareness. This means being aware of how your emotions impact your behaviour and decision-making. Once you are self-aware, you can then work on managing your emotions so they don’t negatively impact your team. For instance, if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a break to clear your head before communicating with your team.

The next step in developing emotional intelligence is social awareness. Good managers can identify when a team member is struggling to provide support and guidance. They may observe nonverbal cues and reach out to a team member to see if they need help. This is a particularly useful people management skill for team members that may not feel comfortable asking for help when they need it.

#7 Time Management

Time management is one of the most important people management skills that a manager can have. As a manager, you need to prioritise your time effectively to ensure that you can meet the demands of your role and support your team. This means being able to manage your own workload and delegate tasks effectively, as well as encouraging your team members to do the same.

To improve your time management skills, start by setting clear goals and priorities for yourself and your team. Use tools like to-do lists and calendars to stay organised and ensure that you stay on track. Make sure that you also communicate with your team regularly to stay aware of their priorities and deadlines, and to offer support and guidance where needed.

Another key aspect of time management is being able to say no when necessary. As a manager, you may be faced with requests and demands from various stakeholders, but you need to be able to assess whether a particular task or project is worth your time and resources. Being able to say no in a polite and professional manner can help you maintain your focus and avoid getting overwhelmed.

Remember, managing your time effectively is not just about completing tasks on time, but also about ensuring that you are using your time in a way that supports your team’s goals and objectives!

#8 Problem Solving

Problem-solving is an important skill for any manager to have. When issues arise, team members look to the manager to solve the problem. Thus, managers need to be able to think critically and creatively to come up with effective solutions that work for everyone involved.

How can you improve your problem-solving skills? Start by thoroughly thinking about a problem before trying to solve it. This involves gathering as much information as possible and examining it from all angles. It’s also important to involve others in the process and gather input from different perspectives. This can lead to more innovative and effective solutions.

Another important aspect of problem-solving is being able to make decisions confidently. A good manager needs to be able to weigh the pros and cons of different solutions and make a decision based on what is best for the team and the organisation. This requires being decisive and willing to take calculated risks.

#9 Decision Making

From employee performance to resource allocation and strategic planning, decision-making is a crucial people management skill that every leader must possess. A good manager must be able to make informed decisions that are beneficial to the organisation and its people. This can range from day-to-day decisions to long-term strategic goals.

In order to make good decisions, you must have a combination of critical thinking, problem-solving and risk analysis. Good managers can effectively weigh the pros and cons of each decision, taking into account the potential consequences and benefits. This involves seeking input from relevant stakeholders, conducting research, analysing data, seeking advice from experts and consulting colleagues to consider alternative perspectives. The end result is a decision that is well-informed, objective and based on a broad range of inputs.

People management skills come into play when making decisions that affect the morale, productivity, and well-being of team members.

#10 Sales and Marketing

While it may not seem immediately obvious, having good sales and marketing skills can actually be highly beneficial for a people manager. A manager who has an understanding of the sales and marketing process is able to better identify and capitalise on opportunities to promote their team’s successes and create a positive image of their team within the organisation. In addition, sales and marketing skills can help a manager to effectively communicate with and influence their team members, which is essential for motivating and inspiring them to achieve their goals.

Sales and marketing skills also translate into effective people management through the ability to understand and address the needs and preferences of different stakeholders. Just as a sales professional needs to understand the needs and preferences of their target customers, a people manager needs to understand the needs and preferences of their team members, clients, and other stakeholders. By using their sales and marketing skills, a manager can effectively tailor their communication and management style to each individual stakeholder, leading to better relationships, improved productivity, and increased job satisfaction.

Become a Better People Manager with FirstCom Academy’s Effective Leadership Programme

Being a great people manager requires a range of skills and abilities, it’s not just about being able to lead and delegate tasks, but also being able to communicate effectively, motivate your team and solve problems. People management skills are crucial for any leader or manager, regardless of the industry they work in.

If you’re interested in improving your people management skills, consider signing up for FirstCom Academy’s Effective Leadership Programme. This comprehensive programme is designed to equip you with the skills and strategies to become an effective leader who can establish strong connections and influence decisions. By learning how to sell, present and manage people, you’ll be setting yourself up for personal and business success.

Through the programme, you’ll learn how to build rapport effortlessly, nurture long-term customer relationships, and improve lead quality to close more sales. You’ll also develop the people management skills necessary to inspire and retain talent in your team. By completing the programme, you’ll be formally certified in professional leadership, giving you a significant competitive advantage and distinguishing yourself from others in your field.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for the Effective Leadership Programme today and take the first step towards becoming a successful leader.


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