Three Key Principles of People Management

Tools and Tips for Successful Management and Leadership Series As an effective leader, you know that you will only succeed, and the business objectives will only be accomplished, if your team is successful. Their and your success or failure is "joined at the hip." Thus, a major portion of your

management effort should be directed at assisting and assuring your individual team members' success. This Management and Leadership blog series is dedicated to the tools, approaches, and strategies that managers can use to promote the success of individuals and the team, and thus also the organization and themselves.

Topic One: Three Key Principles of People Management

A key set of principles, or process steps are the foundation of many tasks confronting the manager, and ingraining these concepts into your daily activities and the corporate (department, group, etc.) culture will go a long way towards successful management techniques in many areas. These key principles are:

1. Listen effectively and respond with empathy:

There are many books and courses on effective listening. Suffice it to say that the "respond with empathy" is what builds the bond of trust and partnership. The value of conveying to your subordinate that you understand where they are coming from is huge. The more honest information and feedback (and yes, even feelings) that you can collect here, the more likely the final solution will be effective. They need to know that they are listened to and understood. In conflict situations, this is the most wearing on the manager.

2. Ask for help in resolving the issue or planning the task:

Having the person develop the plan of action significantly increases the chance of successful accomplishment. Regardless of whether you can accommodate their needs or implement their

suggestions, they have made their case for the future. This is the most difficult of the three steps, in that it requires their acceptance of responsibility for any issues and the subsequent action plan. This is where they enlist, or don't. They may need an idea, or a nudge or two, but in the end, you need them to nod and say, "I'm in." Those that don't may be on their way off the team.

3. Confirm actions and set follow-up date:

You are "circling the wagons" and confirming agreement to the plan and its timing. Everything up to this point is wasted effort without a set plan and follow-up date. It may be tempting if the process was emotional, to say at this point, "well, we're done with that unpleasantness. What's for lunch?" However, I guarantee that without completing step three, the resolution is 100:1 against for success. It is usually best to plan on a series of shorter and quicker milestones, to assure that progress is occurring in a way that meets the needs of the business. Waiting too long can lead to egg covered faces and pink colored slips.

Share your "War Stories."

Throughout this series, I encourage readers to post their particular experiences and challenges (please do NOT include any specific information that could identify subject companies or individuals). Remember that there isn't ONE RIGHT way to approach the task, and there are usually countless WRONG ONES! Coming Next: Effective Delegation

(C) 2010 Martin Bergstedt, Used by permission.
listen image: ky_olsen clipboard image: wikimedia commons climbing image: ianturk


Amelia Jordan's picture

Great blog - you definitely walk the talk in your management style.