People management is a key skill to have in your repertoire as it is one of the most transferable skills that can be used across all fields of work.
Whether you are in a leadership position currently or want to explore career development opportunities, improving your people management skills is one of the most important professional skills to learn.
What makes effective people management?
Being a good manager of people takes several skills, and it can vary depending on who you are managing, where you are working and your job role. Your approach to people management will also depend on your leadership style and personality, as different people take different approaches depending on the type of workplace, the personality of team members and their own personal approach to work.
However, some leadership and management styles can include aspects which can lead to a lot of issues within the workplace. Common pitfalls such as micromanaging, not using effective communication, not setting achievable goals and not being attentive to employees often go unnoticed by the person in the management position but can be disastrous for the employees, the business, the management team and the entire work culture.
This is why learning effective people management is key, and understanding how to be empowering your employees, how to foster employee engagement and how to build trust is essential to being a successful manager of people.
Learn how to resolve conflict
Conflict management is one of the most important aspects of people management, but it can also take the most hard work. Team working is a lot harder when team members, employees and management or customers have a conflict that needs to be resolved.
Therefore developing your conflict resolution skills is essential to ensure that you can foster a positive work environment, help the team work together and provide management with peace of mind that you are able to resolve issues that could arise.
You can learn conflict resolution by putting yourself forward for small team leadership positions within your job role, such as taking charge of a project, within which you will learn key project management and team leadership skills. You can also practise this in your daily personal and professional life, helping listen to colleagues, friends or customers and try to resolve conflicts as an independent mediator.
Studying online people management courses or courses in conflict resolution, psychology, or mentoring can also be a great way to develop conflict resolution skills and can help you see where the different parties within the conflict might be coming from and how the conflict can be resolved.
Be a problem solver
Problem-solving will be the main skill you utilise when you manage people, as you will be one of the main people that others come to when problems occur. This can be operational, interpersonal, technical or strategic, and you will need to know how to consider all options and solve the problem at hand. Customers and clients can also approach you with problems, and you will need to be confident in the best course of action to take or to know when you need to seek the help of your line manager.
Problem-solving also encompasses other key skills you will need to be an effective leader, including the ability to keep calm under pressure, the confidence to make decisions and the ability to prioritise. If you can develop the skills to solve problems in your current working role, then this can put you at a great advantage, for example, by putting yourself forward to help other colleagues or by getting involved in decision-making within your team.
Take on a mentoring role
Mentoring or coaching is a great way to put your management skills to the test and gain practical, real-world experience in management. As a mentor, you will be guiding someone in an area of your own expertise, teaching them how to do certain tasks and explaining important aspects of the job to them.
This can help you practise how to explain complex ideas to others (a vital skill in people management) as well as give you practise in developing effective communication skills, skills in providing constructive feedback and skill in problem-solving.
This can be done in the workplace, and this is probably where you will find it most useful as it will be directly related to teaching someone how to do a work-based skill. However, you can also mentor in other areas, such as coaching or mentoring for a charity or helping people learn a sport or instrument. Some of the new skills which are essential to being a great leader that you can learn through mentoring include:
Fill in any skills gaps
Last but certainly not least, courses in Leadership and Management are a fantastic way to learn professional people management skills and demonstrate your competencies to your employer. Getting a leadership or management qualification under your belt will provide evidence of you developing these key senior-level hard and soft skills.
Studying a course will also help you learn professional people management techniques taught by experts in the field, giving you the skillset and confidence you need to manage others.
Leadership and management courses are available to be taken online and can be specific to your area of employment, such as business management, human resources or professional consulting. Several career areas require good people management, whether it is in the area of clients and customers or between colleagues, and these courses can enable you to implement successful people management techniques in your own workplace.
Some of the practical applications that management training courses can have in the workplace include: teaching you how to implement team building exercises to build a stronger team, how to encourage and implement professional development opportunities, how to formulate an action plan and how to conduct one-on-one performance reviews constructively.
People management can be a challenging skill to master, especially if you are managing a large group of people with varying personalities and communication types. However, through developing your practical skills in the workplace or in a voluntary role, as well as learning leadership techniques through a certified course, you can improve your people management skills, become a great manager and further your career prospects.