18 People Management Skills Every Manager Needs

Updated Oct 10, 2022.
People Management Skills

Work experience and the right blend of technical skills needed to accomplish tasks effectively are two critical requirements for management success. You can easily get these requirements under your belt after an extended period within a field.

However, you must develop new skills to be an effective and inspirational manager or leader. Successful managers are not just known for their technical prowess and industry experience; they are known to possess people management skills.

People management skills are as important as experience and technical prowess. No forward-thinking recruiter ignores leadership qualities and other people management skills when hiring a manager.

This article covers 18 essential people management skills every manager and team leader needs to succeed.

What are People Skills?

People management skills, or soft skills as it is otherwise referred to, include all the various distinguishing attributes that characterize every great manager's ability to relate well with others in a work environment. 

Every aspiring manager must practice people management skills to ensure they treat, communicate, and lead their team members to deliver expected results. 

With a proper understanding of how to effectively manage soft skills and incorporating people management skills into your management style, you are better positioned to transform your team into a productive, engaged, and motivated team. 

4 pillars of people management
Source: Profit.Co

People management skills transform ordinary managers into people managers. With these soft skills, you are better equipped to maximize effective and productive interaction among team members for the organization's benefit.

They are the fundamental building blocks for career development, as vital emotional intelligence builds a robust and great manager. Every great manager builds an effective team with solid people skills. 

The trusting relationship between managers and other employees translates into both positive employee results and organizational productivity. 

Successful managers use people management skills to influence the behavior of team members for more efficient task execution. 

Why Are People's Skills Important?

Building people management skills are essential to every business environment. The business environment structure accommodates people from different backgrounds and ages, all bringing their respective ideas to the table.

To be an effective leader, you must understand your team's ability and what motivates them to get the best out of them. 

1. Helps Develop People

With people skills, managers are assured that their team is on track to reach its full potential. The best managers have a knack for making their employees better. 

With people management skills, managers can offer personalized feedback or advice to employees to help them function at a higher level.

2. Better Employee Performance

When properly managed, people skills help spur better employee performance and ultimately translate into more excellent employee retention in the organization. Effective people management skills boost retention and improve workplace camaraderie. 

3. Improved Productivity

Emphasizing people management skills in your organizational structure improves productivity and boosts employee morale. Besides benefiting from improved productivity, the organization also enjoys a motivated and happy workforce.

Critical People Management Skills

Being a people manager requires you to leverage your technical skills alongside the experience you have gathered over the years to build a high-performing team.

In addition two those two factors, soft skills are one factor your success as a people manager depends on. It has a far-reaching impact than experience and technical skills combined. 

People management skills are broad. There are many significant skills that every effective leader should have. Working your way through the list to tick all the boxes is expected of a good leader.

These important people management skills help good managers build a strong team.

1. Patience

Patience is one skill that often gets tested in your relationship in your work environment, as challenging situations always put you in a frustrating position. 

Your ability to keep your cool and maintain a level head even in the most challenging situations is one skill that every manager needs. 

Managing a team is one job description that no manual can teach. With team members from different backgrounds, it is challenging to predict their behaviors. As a manager, you must be patient and firm when dealing with your team. 

Irrespective of how different people are born with different tolerance levels, patience remains a critical people management skill developed with time.

Patience is one of the most vital assets you can have in your corner as a manager. Your team would feel more comfortable sharing their problems with you as they assured their trust in you would not be damaged.

2. Good Communication

Good communication skills make a great manager. How you communicate information to your employees can be the difference between the failure or success of a task or project.

Whether it is to present ideas and vision to your employees or highlight the importance of specific tasks to the organization's goals and objectives, communication skills are one skill set that encompasses almost all other skill sets. 

Clear communication provides clarity to your employees on what is expected of them and improves the level of transparency in the organization, resulting in higher efficiency and employee retention rate. 

Communication is one of many interpersonal skills directly linked to employee engagement. If your organization depends on frequent feedback from all quarters, communication skill is one skill that should not be overlooked. 

Workplace communication is only as good as the quality of communication.  As an art, communicating requires constant practice until you find the best way of passing information around. 

Tips to improve your communication skills
Source: UpRaise

3. Building Relationships

Managers are tasked with creating partnerships, building trust, and sharing ideas as they have an authoritative view of the big picture. 

Ultimately, people are about people, which is why building relationships is vital. Your ability to effectively relate the organization's view and standpoint is one factor that guarantees success. 

Conflict of interest is one factor that can hinder team building in an organization. You must present a singular view of the organization's perspective to avoid misunderstanding. 

Clearly showing what the organization wants and expects to achieve keeps everyone on the same page.

When building relationships, try not to be too firm and be accommodating of other employees' views, but make it clear that the organization comes first and hence, agree to disagree. 

Effective managers are known for assisting in the professional development of their team members. They build a more effective team by harnessing their strengths and constant coaching.

4. Honesty

Honesty implies being truthful in good and bad times. As a manager, you need to understand that your employees' professional development mainly depends on how honest the feedback you give them is. 

The way you deliver constructive feedback needs to be honest and devoid of negativity. Ensure the team's morale is not affected in any way while maintaining the honesty and trust your employees have in you.

Honesty helps everyone work better as a team and improves how work is carried out. 

5. Trust

A large part of being a good manager is solely based on trust. You need to work with the mindset that your employees have the organization's best interest at heart. 

Trust is one important skill set in any relationship. Trusting your employees helps boost their resolve as they are better motivated to deliver on their expectations. 

Micro-management is one factor that employees despise, mainly because it shows there is not enough trust on the part of managers. Constantly watching over your employees only breeds frustration. They need to be provided with enough room to express themselves. 

Micro-managing your team's activities leaves you less time to perform your oversight function; hence, you risk losing sight of the bigger picture. 

Instead of micro-managing, delegate tasks to employees with their expected outcomes while providing them with a detailed explanation of what is expected and welcome feedback from them.

Trust is closely linked to confidence. Having a team confident in its actions is one factor that positively influences the overall organization's success.

6. Accountability

Accountability is one factor lazy managers often wish never existed. Managers are responsible for all the activities of the team and its outcome, whether successful or not. 

Good managers always hold themselves accountable, whether the outcome is favorable or not, as they understand their leadership role. 

Employees, too, take accountability for their actions only when their managers have established it as the expected norm. With both managers and employees accountable for their actions, the organization runs smoothly, and tasks get completed more efficiently. 

Managers' lack of accountability reduces employees' confidence, which can be detrimental to the organization. Lack of accountability limits employee engagement and can result in employees taking up a lackadaisical attitude to work. 

By creating accountability in respective teams, managers instill ownership in all individual contributors to the organization's mandate.

7. Flexibility

There is more than one way of carrying out a task. What is important is if the approach of carrying out the task is efficient enough to translate into an expected outcome. 

With a proper understanding of flexibility, you know that team members are often very innovative and constantly seek new approaches to carrying out their tasks more efficiently. 

You need to be flexible as a manager in allowing your team to deliver their task in the most efficient way possible. Defining a fixed path for your team to follow would only limit them. 

Flexibility on the part of managers also tests their resolve to adapt quickly to changes in the organizational structure. There is no rigid or fixed approach to delivering results. 

8. Leadership Skills 

Managing people depends on your ability to lead them effectively. Effective leaders adopt a growth mindset to their leadership styles and constantly motivate their teams to defy all odds to achieve success. 

Top leaders are always characterized by great members who perform beyond expectations and have the genuine interest of the organization at heart. 

Like most people's management skills, you can develop and strengthen your leadership skills. It requires a desire to improve, practice, and properly understand your team's needs. 

Employee loyalty results from their managers' leadership style, starting as high up as an executive board position to department heads. Employees pledge loyalty and confidence in leaders and their leadership styles.

Leadership is a habit that grows on you with time. It is a constant learning process, so you must be open and ready to learn at each step.

9. Problem-Solving Skills

Every organization has its unique problem. Effective managers develop an effective mechanism that provides immediate solutions to these problems as they arise. 

Every step of the organization's process is laced with its specific problem, from finding a schedule that fits all employees to find the best fit to setting up and managing inventory

Managers require strong problem-solving skills to keep tasks on track. Taking a proactive approach to all organizational processes is the way to go. 

With problem-solving skills, you spend most of your time looking for more effective ways of improving existing processes or finding a lasting solution to recurring problems. 

Problem-solving skill requires you to pay keen attention to details as a manager. You are poised to relieve pressure from your employees and employer by providing immediate solutions to every problem before it compounds into a bigger one.

Problem solving skills
Source: StandOutCV

10. Positivity

Creating a positive environment for all in an organization falls under the job description of a project manager, as attitudes are contagious.

A better and much-improved decision-making process is guaranteed by ensuring a positive environment in which employees carry out their tasks.

Reducing stress and providing needed motivation is a way of keeping the team's morale high by which managers can set the tone for a positive approach in the organization. 

Positivity is more of a mindset. It does not just fall on every person in the organization but constantly grows into everyone. 

Top managers emphasize having a positive mindset. As a manager, you must first lay the example by exhibiting positivity in all your approaches, picking out positives in every situation to encourage positivity to reflect in your employees. 

11. Critical Thinking

Intelligent decisions are a product of carefully gathered and evaluated information. Managers are at the center of the decision-making process and are always informed on the happenings in the organization. 

Critical thinking is a vital people management skill required of managers. It enables them to make intelligent and effective decisions amid uncertainty. 

By being the central hub of information between the organization's top hierarchy and other employees, effective leaders can come up with innovative ideas to solve problems quickly before they become complex. 

The responsibility of bringing the concerns and questions of employees to the higher-ups in the organizations falls to managers. These concerns and questions are valuable information that needs to gain the attention of the organization's leaders.

As a manager, do not feel intimidated to ask your employees questions or make tough decisions, as you are the only person uniquely tasked with that responsibility.

12. Ability to Listen

Active listening is one quality that every person needs, especially as a leader, where you constantly receive complaints, questions, and ideas from every team member.

Effective managers must be open to new suggestions for more efficient ways of doing things. No one knows it all, and this distinguishes people managers from other categories of managers.

Being a people manager means you take time to listen to your employees' inputs and are accommodating to new business ideas.

Rushed decisions do not characterize great managers as they take their time to weigh all options and consider every likely outcome before making an informed decision.

An active listen-and-respond approach is what every manager should incorporate into their decision-making process, but it is not always easy. With time and constant practice, it becomes a beneficial habit.

Ultimately, the difference in how managers communicate with their team and top management depends on their active listen-and-respond approach.

13. Empathy

Empathy allows you to share and understand the feelings of those close to you. You can liken empathy to compassion. 

As a manager, you must be compassionate when dealing with your employees. They might be going through different issues that characterize their work-life relationship.

Your job is to make life relatively more manageable for the employees under your supervision. Any team works best when they are focused and less distracted from their personal life. 

Showing sympathy to your employees is not a sign of weakness. Compassionate leaders are twice as likely to be loved and appreciated. Doing so fosters an environment where everyone is happy and satisfied.

14. Open-Mindedness 

Keeping an open mind is an essential skill for managers. There might be a sense that things could have been done differently and resulted in a more successful outcome that you would have overlooked.

An effective manager sees himself as the central information hub. In keeping an open mind, employees are more likely to share their thoughts and suggestions as they are guaranteed a favorable audience from you. 

Although not every suggestion that crosses your path needs to be acted upon, there is no way of knowing what suggestion is needed and what is not without first accommodating all of them. 

Open-mindedness helps build trust and respect between managers and their employees. Employees see the value of bringing up their suggestions and unique viewpoint to you as they are guaranteed listening ears. 

With an open mindset, you are more approachable as a manager, and team members will find working with you more effortless.

15. Adaptability

Although flexibility and adaptability are often mistaken to mean the same thing, they are two different concepts. 

While flexibility deals with acknowledging other ways of carrying out a task to get the same result, adaptability means being aware of changing circumstances and making considerable changes to adapt to these new changes. 

Even with solid management skills, your leadership style needs to adapt to changes that characterize your team due to new opportunities and challenges. 

Taking a rigid stance in your team management plans does no good. An effective manager is flexible enough to adapt to changes as the need arises to carry everyone along. 

Adaptability needs to be reflected in your strategies. You might need to review the organization's corporate, functional, and business-level strategies if things are not going as expected.

16. Macromanagement

Macromanaging your team instead of micromanaging them is the way to go. It gives managers more time to utilize in other areas than supervising every team's decision. 

With a macromanagement approach, managers take a step back and trust their team with a free hand to perform tasks while also setting targets for them to deliver on. 

The benefit of macromanagement, as opposed to micromanagement, is that even though both approaches deliver the expected result, macromanagement is less stressful. Managers do not need to be on hand to supervise the team all the time. 

Micromanagement is an added advantage for employees. They are given enough room to be themselves and think through different options for delivering the expected result on the task assigned.

With the relative freedom that the macromanagement approach affords employees, they are better positioned to solve problems, improve their skills and be their best version.

Note that macro management does not take the supervisory role away from managers. You still need to be very active in the ongoings in the organization from an onlooker's perspective and only step in when the team is derailing from their target. 

Micromanagement and Macromanagement
Source: SketchBubble

17. Approachability

Managers need to understand that making themselves approachable to the employees under their care is very important. They provide the needed guidance and direction that the organization needs to deliver on its goals and objectives. 

As a manager, you must be seen as welcoming and relatable instead of dismissive.  Providing an enabling environment for constructive feedback and direct reports to flourish is essential. 

Being open and approachable as a manager is an essential people management skill that guarantees positivity and employee loyalty among team members. 

Taking time to respond to your employees' suggestions and complaints despite your busy schedule as a manager is one quality that breeds a sense of inclusiveness. 

With this act, employees are convinced that you have their interest at heart, even before deciding whether to buy into the suggestion or not. 

18. Motivation

Motivation is one of the qualities that spur people to aim to achieve more as it gives them the feeling they are appreciated and their efforts matter. 

Managers need to devise a unique environment that points out that everyone's contributions are seen and valued by the organization's executive team and other employees, as motivation is the duty of all. 

Motivation is an emotional game you must play to your advantage. Knowing the best way of appreciating employees for their efforts helps build a solid and formidable team. 

Ensure the management of the organization signs off incentives for employees, be they material or non-material. These incentives motivate other employees to take their assigned tasks seriously, as nothing beats a good reward.

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Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.