Being a manager can be a challenge. You have to work with several people, each with their own views and ways of working.

The key to being a good manager lies in people management. You have to understand people and their personalities, motivations and goals.

Good managers know how to get the best out of their teams by managing them effectively.

What is people management?

Quite simply, people management is about organizing employees and teams to optimize performance.

The practices governing various sets of actions related to the workforce in an organization—such as hiring, training, managing and guiding the employees—are collectively called people management.

People management is a critical function of human resource management as it involves managing every aspect of the employee life cycle in an organization, from appointment to exit. Hence, understanding how to manage people at work is the primary and most important aspect of any business manager’s operations.

Let’s look at an example. Puneet works as a manager at a reputed FMCG company. An ambitious person, he constantly aims to ramp up production and expand the company’s sales network.

He keeps asking his production workforce to put in extra hours and increase the output. What he doesn’t realize, however, is that production is already at maximum and the company needs more machines and more people to increase it.

He is similarly impatient with the sales and marketing teams, as he feels they aren’t doing enough to promote the products in the market. He sets high targets for them and believes the pressure will spur them.

Instead of being driven towards increasing production and sales, the employees become demotivated and increasingly disinterested in the work. Absenteeism, technical problems and reduction in sales follow. Puneet feels the pressure as production plummets to the lowest in two years, and eventually resigns.

How to manage people

Puneet’s lack of people management skills led to his organization’s decline.

People management skills are critical for long-term growth in today’s business environment. They not only help you manage your employees better, but are also critical in ensuring that the company runs smoothly and remains on its intended growth trajectory.

Let’s look at four effective people management tips:

  1. Be a good listener

The common perception of listening only takes place when someone else is talking. However, as any good listener will tell you, listening skills also include paying attention to what is being said, making eye contact with the speaker, and not cutting in while the other person is speaking. Being a good listener will make you more empathetic and effective in your decision-making, and a better manager.

  1. Different approaches for personal and organizational problems

Managing a team involves understanding and resolving employee issues and concerns. They could be personal problems or issues related to working hours and absenteeism.

Apart from individual concerns, managers also face organizational issues such as poor team performance, office politics, or a lack of resources preventing employees from performing their duties.

These are different sets of problems and while people management skills will help you overcome them, you have to use different approaches. What works best in solving a single employee’s problem is unlikely to be effective for a team or a cross-organization problem.

  1. Understand the aspirations of each employee

Every employee has individual goals, their own way of working and expectations. Understanding these factors is crucial for employee satisfaction.

Learn about the goals that each employee has for themself and what makes them happy. Some people love being given responsibilities while others feel better with continued guidance. Don’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to managing every employee. Establish a one-to-one rapport with your people.

  1. Be there when there is no problem

One of the biggest mistakes that managers make is that they don’t connect regularly with their team members when everything is going well.

Letting them swim alone just because they are not drowning can actually create a disconnect between the management and the employees. This lack of communication can make things worse when a challenge or crisis appears suddenly.

Hence, you should always keep a regular schedule of weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly or monthly team meetings. Even when everything is smooth, go ahead and ask them if they need any support and how they are doing personally. Building a community and family spirit among the teams is the best people management approach.


Good managers keep teams functional. Great managers take them to greater heights. Learning people management concepts is critical to becoming a great manager. That’s where Harappa Education’s Decoding Others course proves beneficial. It has a section on people management skills which will empower you with insights to connect with your employees on multiple levels. So sign up today and take charge of your team’s growth.

Explore topics such as Learning From Experience, the Learning ProcessLearn Unlearn and Relearn & Kolb’s Learning Cycle from our Harappa Diaries blog section and hone strategically thinking skills in business.

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