Typically, people who are very good at their job get promoted. This often means taking on people management responsibilities.

Unfortunately, just because someone has performed well in their role, this does not mean they are well-equipped for people management. It’s also unfair to expect them to, unless they have either had some development in this area and/or they have learnt from being well managed themselves and can adopt some of those skills they’ve seen.

Being well-equipped for people management is essential as your people give your business its competitive edge (you can read why here).

What can be done to ensure your managers are well-equipped for people management?

The good news is that most capable people can learn the skills that are needed to be a good people manager.

Let’s remind ourselves what some of those top skills are. You can then either be looking for them in potential people managers and/or invest in relevant development for your people.

Top 5 abilities demostarted by those well-equipped for people management

  1. Stepping back – good managers need to be able to get out of the detail, primarily for two key reasons:
    • Big picture – to make sure they keep the big picture of what they and their team need to achieve and be able to communicate this to the team.
    • Delegation – to ensure they are allowing the team to do their jobs and not becoming overly involved where they don’t need to. People need the opportunity to show what they can do.
  1. Making time – to make sure a team is an asset not a burden, managers need to take the time to build relationships with their team to keep them developing and be able to help them progress their careers effectively within the organisation. Whilst engaging with peers and more senior people is necessary, the team mustn’t be forgotten.


  1. Motivating others – this involves taking the time to understand how other people think, what their barriers are and what motivates them. It can often take managers time to realise that people are different, so they need to be able to put themselves into others’ shoes to understand them and what motivates them. This also involves making sure team members get appropriate credit.


  1. Listening – if people feel heard, this often mitigates a lot of issues. Take the time to do this and respond appropriately. Linked to this is being able to discern an appropriate reaction.


  1. Feeding back – this is in terms of giving individuals the feedback they need to develop; updating people with company feedback and updates so they understand what they need to in the context of the wider organisation. It also works the other way in terms of taking input from the team and feeding it upwards when necessary.

Next step

If you were to rate your people managers in terms of these five abilities, how would they do?

Signs in a team that these skills are not present in their manager include:

  • Poor productivity.
  • Slow decision-making.
  • Whispers of discontent.
  • Low people retention rates.

If you’d like to talk about developing your managers so they are not only great technically but also great at getting the most from their teams, then contact me for an initial conversation.

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