No matter your specific areas of expertise, as a manager of people, you know the challenges that come with extracting the best performance possible from your team and subordinates using proven people management methodologies.
An advanced business degree with a focus on management can help you hone your management skills for leadership positions. Additionally, here are five different techniques that can help you manage more effectively and help your employees grow in their roles:
- Create Agreements with Employees
According to Steve Chandler, author of 100 Ways to Motivate Others, “A leader creates agreements with team members and enters into those agreements on an adult-to-adult basis.” It is about leading by supporting, rather than being authoritative and demanding, as an overly strict parent would treat a child.
Specifically, the manager works on an agreement with the employee that details how the work will get done, who will be enlisted and how the manager can support the effort. This model engages and invests employees in the cause by appealing to their desire for mastery, autonomy and purpose. These are the three proven motivational factors in people management, according to Daniel Pink, author of DRIVE.
- Manage Personalities by Type
Many employers use the Myers-Briggs assessment to help employees learn about their personality types in order to provide optimal management for each individual. This assessment classifies people according to two archetypal personalities for four criteria: their sources of energy (introversion or extroversion), how they take in information (intuition or sensing), how they make decisions (thinking or feeling) and how they organize their lives (judging or perceiving).
The results of this test reveal certain strong personality tendencies for each criterion. For example, someone may be an ENTJ, which means they are extroverts who rely on intuition, thinking and judging. These people are innovative and creative and are motivated by opportunities to learn and grow. Another employee may be an ISTP — an introvert who relies on sensing, thinking and perceiving. These pragmatists like concrete, practical work more than theoretical or abstract thinking, and they often like to work independently.
A simpler model for understanding personality types is the playground model which posits four basic personality types derived from how they might have behaved as kids on the playground. A peacemaker made sure everyone got a turn at bat, an organizer made sure participants played according to the rules, a revolutionary changed the rules and a steamroller wanted to do everything their way. Peacemakers appreciate collaboration, while steamrollers may factor opinions into their own way of doing things. Organizers love spreadsheets and methodical ways of doing things, while revolutionaries fly by the seat of their pants, relying on quick complex mental processing.
- Notice When Your Employees Need Help
Striking the perfect balance between micromanagement and laissez-faire management with timely and appropriate assistance is easier said than done. Some managers have the temptation to anticipate problems that employees don’t realize and jump in to head off any issues. However, a Harvard Business Review study found that employees understand and value advice more after problems in a task emerge, rather than beforehand. They are more likely to use the help, improve processes, share information and make better decisions with timely interventions. If you do see the potential for serious mistakes, give your employee or team a chance to explain their approach before providing suggestions.
- Help Employees in Teams Improve Their Interpersonal Skills
One of the key differentiators between managerial-level employees and their subordinates is the soft skills they bring to their leadership roles. Chief among them are interpersonal skills that are taught and practiced in business schools. Since most employees do not have the benefit of this experience, coach the skills that matter most in your environment and allow them to practice the new skills in supervised sessions with you. For example, train individuals in perspective-taking and inquiry to enable others to share their concerns candidly. Give teams opportunities to practice generative dialogues in which multiple perspectives are integrated to form truly collaborative solutions.
- Demonstrate the Value of Respect
Management includes aspects of coaching, supervision, intervention, facilitation and leading by example. Demonstrate the cultural values of your organization, starting with respect and empathy. Next, value the skills and ideas of employees and prove it by brainstorming and collaborating on solutions. Offer meaningful work to employees who have earned it, assign important tasks to reward employee development and let individuals who need the example most see how you operate. Finally, take a step back, evaluate how your example impacts others and share ideas about implementing cultural values with other managers in your organization.
If you are climbing the career ladder and looking for leadership opportunities, chances are, you will end up managing a team of people at some point. Before that time arrives, make sure you are ready by developing your people management skills in business school.
Learn more about Fitchburg State University’s Online Master of Business Administration in Management program.
Forbes: Why Managing People Is Impossible: What Expert Leaders Do Instead
Harvard Business Review:
4 Steps to Boost Psychological Safety at Your Workplace
How to Help (Without Micromanaging)
Indeed: Guide to People Management: Definition, Tips and Skills
Lakeside Park: Office Personalities: How to Improve Employee Motivation and Manage by Personality Type