Basics of People Management with Definition, Importance, and Top Skills

Basics of People Management with Definition, Importance, and Top Skills

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Nov 28, 2023 18:05 IST

This blog covers people management, its framework, importance, skills and how you can get started to become a successful people manager.

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Irrespective of the management style an organisation adopts, managing people is the most crucial aspect. People management is an essential element of the human resources department that looks into the employee side of things. Most importantly, their well-being. 

Refer to people management interview questions and answers to get introduced to key areas important in managing people in an organisation. 

What is People Management?

People management can be defined as a group of practices that include HR management functions such as talent acquisition and retention, and providing training and continual guidance to employees. 

Explore HR management courses

Key Responsibilities of a People Manager

As a people manager, you will need to be involved in creating strategies for hiring, and managing various HR activities, including talent engagement, creating training modules, etc. All such activities must also align with the desired objectives of your organisation. 

Regarding the well-being of employees, people managers are responsible for the following.  

  • Ensuring the team has all the resources required for completing their assigned tasks. They are responsible for determining if the tasks provided to the employees are realistic, i.e., whether the time provided to complete the task is fair.
  • Making sure the employee feels safe while working at the organisation. It is not just workplace safety, but also determining whether the employee’s manager listens and provides constructive criticism to the employee or not. 
  • Resolving workplace conflicts that may arise and promoting a healthy work environment where communication remains transparent 
  • Motivating and guiding employees to reach their maximum potential
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These responsibilities will become clearer when you explore the basic framework of people management. 

Components of People Management | The 5 C’s

In general, there are 5 C’s of people management. These C’s describe a framework highlighting the key elements of this sub-function of HR management. 

Clarity 

It is related to the Unity of Command principle under the 14 Principles of Management. Simply put, the employee must have clarity of what is expected of them. If a subordinate has one superior, there is little room for misinterpretation. 

The people manager has to ensure that the employee has a proper idea of what to do and what the employee’s manager expects. Ideally, as a people manager, you must ensure that you leave no room for ambiguity. 

Some examples of providing clarity to employees are the following. 

  • Setting performance targets through calculable metrics
  • Establishing deadlines
  • Standardising the tools required to complete the task

Another key aspect to consider and understand is the span of management that highlights how many subordinates should report to or communicate with one manager.

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Context

It is about fairly treating employees and opening room for discussion or investigation instead of taking action without evidence. 

For instance, you, the people manager, should understand the cause (s) of the employee’s performance problems. It is important to investigate why the employee cannot perform instead of considering them unproductive. 

Maybe there are issues in the employee’s home or personal life that could be the reason for poor performance. Performance management at such stages without investigating their issues and challenges faced can make employees unhappy and more unproductive. 

Here, people managers have to nurture healthy professional relationships with employees so that they are comfortable sharing the challenges they face. 

Consistency

Consistency in instructions and guidance helps employees complete tasks faster. The employee should not end up getting varying instructions or feedback at different occasions.

As a people manager, it is important that your professional behaviour does not change due to impulse. As a best practice, you could provide feedback on a regular basis and not ignore guidance. 

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Courage

When you constantly provide feedback to employees who are not getting tasks right, there is going to be some level of confrontation. It is inevitable.

Likewise, it can be difficult to tell employees that something they are incorrect about, to do correctly. While they may be at fault, it is not likely they are open to listen to criticism. This can pile up and conflict with what the objectives are.  

This is where courage plays an essential role, especially in people management. Avoiding tough discussions and expecting the employee to correct errors on their own will lead to more complications. To help, emotional intelligence, empathy, and conflict resolution skills come to the rescue. These skills help develop a stronger work mindset.    

Commitment

As a strategic position, people managers need to follow through with the important communications made. 

Following the same example above, the people manager is to be committed to helping the employee to correct the faults through constructive and regular feedback. 

Importance of People Management

Here are some benefits of people management. 

Helps Overcome Challenges

Without people management, it is difficult for employees to grow to their full potential smoothly. They may learn on the job on their own but it becomes more challenging when there is nobody to guide or provide consistent feedback. 

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Supports Employee Growth

People managers can play a vital role in providing advice on professional development of the employees. Once employees realise their career choices are supported, they remain more motivated. 

Improves Collaboration

Teamwork can help team complete tasks in a more streamlined manner. People managers ensure collaboration by rewarding employees for their team efforts. 

Top People Management Skills

While emotional intelligence, communication, etc., are commonly known skills among people managers, see how the combination of them to work. 

Building Relationships

One of the crucial skills for a people manager is the ability to identify the right talent pool within/for an organisation for meeting objectives. They should know which individual is right for a specific team.

Inspiring Employees

People managers especially need to have the skill to inspire team members on every level. If one of the team members is not able to perform well, it is essential to help them overcome challenges through positive changes instead of demotivating them. 

Being Accountable 

This people management skill differentiates the best from the rest. Employees tend to trust managers more when the manager owns mistakes of the team. 

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How to Learn People Management 

Here are some ways to get started with people management. 

Top Courses in People Management 

To become a skilled people manager, it is best if you take some courses, like the ones mentioned below. 

  1. People Management on edX
  2. People Management Skills on FutureLearn

You can also check out some free HR management courses

Top People Management Books

These books on people management are a must-read. 

  • The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You | Author: Julie Zhuo
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us | Author: Daniel H. Pink
  • The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever | Author: Michael Bungay Stanier
  • Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ | Author: Daniel Goleman
  • Bringing Out the Best in People | Author: Aubrey C. Daniels

Parting Thoughts

There you go. Hope you now have a better grasp on people management meaning, importance and a lot more that goes into becoming a successful people manager today.

FAQs on People Management

Why is clarity important in the context of people management?

Clarity in instructions and expectations aids in reducing ambiguity for employees. It ensures that tasks are comprehensible, performance targets are measurable, and deadlines are well-established, contributing to a more effective work environment.

How does commitment impact the effectiveness of people management strategies?

Commitment in people management involves following through on vital communications, providing constructive feedback, and supporting employees in overcoming challenges. Consistent commitment aids in building trust and accountability.

What role do people managers play in overcoming organisational challenges and fostering employee motivation?

People managers are instrumental in guiding employees through challenges, providing support, and encouraging professional development, which significantly contributes to bolstering employee motivation and engagement within the organisation.

What are the core responsibilities of a people manager?

People managers hold various responsibilities, including talent engagement, creating training modules, and devising strategies for hiring. Their duties encompass aligning these activities with the organisation's objectives while ensuring employee well-being and task feasibility.

What are examples of people management?

Some important people management examples include the following. 

  1. Conducting regular performance reviews and providing constructive feedback to employees to enhance their skills, address weaknesses, and recognise achievements.
  2. Implementing training sessions, workshops, and mentorship programmes to enhance employees' skills, knowledge, and career growth within the organisation.
  3. Mediating and resolving conflicts or disputes among team members to maintain a harmonious work environment and promote effective collaboration.
  4. Overseeing the recruitment process, conducting interviews, and facilitating the onboarding of new employees to ensure a smooth integration into the company culture.
  5. Organising team-building activities, creating employee engagement surveys, and fostering a positive work environment to boost employee morale and satisfaction.
About the Author
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Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio