Want to be an Effective Manager? Start with Managing People Better


Designating a person as a manager does not make him one. The title does not bestow upon the person the required managerial skills and talent. To be an effective manager one needs to focus on many aspects simultaneously.

Of all the skills that I desire in my managers, the one that I favor most is the skill to relate to people and build a team. They may be technically qualified and operationally excellent but managing a team with different personalities and steering them in a common direction towards attainment of corporate goals is a skill most wanted.
There are various challenges in managing people, as what motivates one individual may rarely apply to all. Each person is distinct with underlying motivations, thinking patterns and attitudes.

The manager understands people, the key drivers of their behaviors and capitalizes their strengths to achieve more. The manager steps on onto a role of a guardian and is genuinely interested in connecting with and developing his people.

I enumerate a few additional traits of a good people’s manager.

Empower and step back

Good managers provide the necessary platform and resources for their employees to perform. They delegate tasks and step out of their way. Guidance and support are offered whenever required in performing their role. A good manager never micromanages or breathes upon the neck of the employee. In fact, he gives his/her employees enough leeway to accomplish the desired results on their own merit.

Practice what you preach

When you manage a team, you are also a part of it. The managerial designation is not a crown on your head, rather you are the role model who must lead by example for others to follow. If you expect your teammates to be on time, then this norm must begin with you. Be one among the team, rather than putting yourself on a pedestal.

Be fair, honest and transparent in all your dealings. Your actions must match your words to command respect and when people see it happening, they will live up to your words.

Listen and care

A good people’s manager cares about the company, its vision and employees. He/she respects people’s time and their contributions, so they never feel unimportant, or disregarded. Actively listen to the suggestions and views of your team. Giving people your attention and time is an act of care.

Be approachable

Keep your door open to discuss ideas and experiences at work. Making time for your people shows you value their work and their inputs. Keep your door open, be accessible and approachable. Involve your team in the decision-making process and collectively source feedback to improve the way you and your team operate.

Communicate and offer feedback

Communicate in a clear and a positive way about how your team is progressing and suggest areas for further development. When mistakes are made, highlight them as learning opportunities. Recognize areas for improvements and coax people towards raising the bar while performing.

When plans fail or go awry, refuse to get stuck on the post-mortem and dwell on the past. Instead, own up the failure and focus on problem-solving so that the project or task moves forward. Manage difficult situations by resolving conflicts and dysfunctional behaviors. Don’t find the fault, find the remedy and chart a plan to get everything back on track.

Take responsibility

A people’s manager passes the credit and celebrates the success of the team. When things go wrong, a target missed or a customer lost, a manager takes the responsibility and shields the team from blame and criticism.

Never pass the blame down the hierarchy to try to appear infallible. Own the mistakes and keep the spirit to learn from it and move forward. An effective manager backs his/her team in good and bad times.

Whether you are an experienced manager or just been promoted, I hope these lessons would be useful to you. I would like to hear your comments and your insights too.