Top 11 People Management Skills (that Make a Good Manager)

Mike Kulakov, October 13, 2020
people management

In this article, we will explore what is people management and how to improve your people management skills to up your management game. Let’s dive right in!

People Management Skills: What Are They?

Anyone who’s ever managed a team (or who’s had one) knows the ability to utilize technical skills and experience is only a small part of being an exceptional manager. People management skills are arguably far more critical.

The definition of “people management” is universal, and yet relatively subjective. At its simplest, it’s the ability to motivate and work well with others. Below are some of the qualities found in exceptional managers with great people skills!

Patience

Patience is the mark of a great leader in any area, but it’s also one of the slipperiest. One may assume they’re a patient person until the going gets tough, only to lose it altogether. There are plenty of ways we can exercise our patience muscles. We’ve found these two are often all you need to tame the impatient beast:

  • Be mindful of your breath. If you’re taking quick, shallow breaths, try to take a minute to slow it down and breathe deeply. 
  • Give yourself and others some space by spending a couple of seconds in silence before reacting.

Empathy

Understanding someone’s feelings and putting yourself in their shoes is an essential quality for any manager to possess. 

If someone is frustrated and has difficulty with a project, the last thing you want to do is make things harder by ignoring their frustration. Understanding these feelings and offering support instead of tearing someone down is vital when developing a productive team. And if you don’t take this from us, take it from the brilliant Simon Sinek; here is his famous speech on how leaders can learn empathy:

Practicing empathy extends to issues outside work, as well. If an employee is having a difficult time at home or with other personal matters, it’s essential to show compassion and understanding. If appropriate, reaching out with a helping hand never hurts, either. 

Mutual communication

If you can’t pay your employees the respect they deserve by giving them space within your communication, chances are, you need to brush up on your management skills. 

It’s challenging to do this sometimes, particularly if we’re in a hurry to meet a deadline or complete a task. It’s much easier to “talk at” someone about your expectations instead of speaking with them. 

When they collaborate and communicate with their teams mutually, many managers are surprised at how much more effective and efficient their teams become!

why is collaboration important
Why is Team Collaboration So Important

Collaboration is a great driving force that results in increased productivity and better problem solving. If you decided to start a collaborative culture in your company, read this article for a workplace collaboration 101!

Honesty

Leading by example is an essential part of practicing excellent management skills. If you don’t show your people that you’re honest and trustworthy, and operate with authentic integrity, can you expect those qualities from them?  Like communication, gaining someone’s trust and cultivating honesty within your organization is a two-way street. 

Adaptability

Sometimes life throws us all curveballs. How you handle these is what makes the difference between a mediocre manager and a great manager. Change is inevitable. Your ability to adapt leads the way for everyone else to follow suit!

Problem solving skills

Along with adaptability goes problem-solving. Some call it “common sense,” some say “street smarts.” Whatever you want to call it, the ability to think fast on your feet is an excellent characteristic to have, whether it’s in the workplace or anywhere else. 

Empowerment

Allowing your employees to take the reigns and assume some leadership on projects shows you’ve got excellent managerial skills. 

Let your team develop in a way that shows you have confidence in them, and empower them to take on tasks independently and see them through to completion.

Stages of Group Development
Stages of Group Development: How to Create Your Dream Team

So, if you aim to run successful projects, you need a close-knit team to make it happen. But how can you create this elusive dream team? To get there, learning more about the stages of group development is the way to go…

As a great manager, part of your role is to train your people well enough and give them sufficient opportunities that empower them to grow and advance within the organization. 

Positive attitude

Taking a glass-is-half-full attitude when change and challenges arise is an essential quality for a great leader to cultivate within themselves to pass on to their teammates.  Positivity is contagious and directly contributes to the performance of an organization in many ways.

Accepting imperfection

Just as they’re patient and empathetic with their people, great managers give themselves the same courtesy. We all make mistakes… And managers are no exception. 

Accepting these missteps with grace, and without blame or “throwing people under the bus” shows your teammates that you own your mistakes, and more importantly, you learn from them. 

Reward & recognition

Positive reinforcement and empowerment go hand-in-hand. It’s all about showing enough confidence in someone by giving them wings to fly, then recognizing them for doing it successfully.

team management games
Best Time Management Games & Activities To Unite And Motivate Your Team

If you notice the first signs of poor time management in your company – missed deadlines, lateness to meetings, poor performance – it’s time to take action…

Organization

How we choose to stay organized is unique to the individual. Still, if your employees watch you scramble to find documents or your struggle to maintain the team’s direction because you’re unorganized, you could lose credibility. 

Everhour features 80+ comprehensive time-tracking tools developed to help managers and their teams stay organized and get things done effectively and efficiently, including: 

  • Extensive time tracking features to monitor hours spent productively.
  • Effortless integration with Trello, Jira, Slack, ClickUp, Asana, and many more for optimal organization between platforms.
  • Reports and dashboards help optimize your processes through detailed and highly customizable reports. 
  • Team management capabilities to help your team stay on time and within budget.
  • Project management features like creating tasks, tracking time, and updating your progress all in one place. 
  • Know your teams’ activity at a glance to map out your project plans and see them with clarity.
  • Manage your staff’s expenses, then easily record billable time and expenses you’ve tracked into invoices.

Everhour’s functions work with simplicity and usability in mind. Their app makes it easy for your employees to clock their hours, keep up with tasks, and optimize their time- not only from their laptops, but from their iPhone using our free app!

everhour
All-in-one time management system for your team

Estimate tasks, set budgets, customize reports – direct in your project management tool. Asana · Trello · Basecamp · Jira · GitHub

People Management Skills: the Bottom Line

Developing and improving great people management skills is a lifelong endeavor. Working with others, especially when managing teams, presents an environment rife with opportunities to learn and better ourselves every day. 

Part of a great manager’s job is to use them as a teaching opportunity for their teams. This way, they learn to improve, and can eventually go forth and become great managers themselves!

Mike Kulakov

IT entrepreneur, executive and a former engineer. Responsible for company growth as well as the team’s motivation. Big fan of playing tennis, snowboarding, traveling, reading books, and (of course) I live and breathe our product.