It seems to be the natural career trajectory these days: Excel at your job and you’ll find yourself managing people (whether you like it or not). Being a manager can be an extremely rewarding and demanding job, and like anything else takes practice, an open mind and a willingness to watch, listen and learn. Here are six basic tips to effectively manage people, and enjoy the process, too.
- Know your business well. And if you’re new to the team, company or industry, sit back, observe and learn before jumping in and making your mark. It will be easier to manage people if they trust you to be an expert in the field, especially if you’re new to managing people.
- Focus outward. It’s not about you. Managing a team is about getting to the end goal using the most effective process and delivering the best results. You want to keep your focus broad. Try not to take things too personally; instead, remember that everyone is advocating for their part of the project and it’s your job to see the big picture and bring it all together. Make decisions that have the most impactful effect on your project, team and organization.
- Recognize the skills it takes to manage people. The role of managing people is very different than the role you had when you were doing your job as a team member, concentrating on your expertise. Designing websites is a very different ball game than managing a creative team—as is writing code vs managing a dev team. To build your people-managing muscles, pay attention, listen, learn from others and do everything you can to build and hone your soft skills.
- Manage from the right distance. This is a delicate balance. You don’t want to micromanage and rob people of their autonomy and the right to take responsibility for their tasks; but you also don’t want to be so remote that you lose touch with your team and the project status. It might take some trial and error to find the right distance from which to manage but being aware of what works and what doesn’t is the best first step.
- Acknowledge people for a job well-done. When people feel appreciated, their motivation, performance and productivity increases. Take advantage of every opportunity to give someone a high-five or “nice job” when the occasion calls for it. Consistent acknowledgement will also kick life into your team’s spirit and their level of engagement.
- Take walking meetings. This is a bit of a new trend, but let’s face it: We all spend too much time indoors, being sedentary. Multiple studies tell us that being in motion naturally produces clarity and great ideas. Plus, there’s the benefit of fresh air and stretching your legs. Just take a notebook or a recording device to catch all the golden nuggets.
What did we miss? Give us your No. 7 in the Comments.