People Management: Top Skills and Strategies

leadership and people management skills

People Management: Top Skills and Strategies

Human resource leaders play a vital role in driving company growth by guiding employees in the right direction. People management, originating from HR, can improve employee morale and engagement, reduce turnover, and enhance team communication. 

Despite advancements in HR systems, the main goal remains to manage people better in easier, enabled, and impactful ways. Hence, effective people management is essential for aspiring and current leaders, as it allows for the creation of motivated, engaged, and productive teams.

Interested in understanding what people management entails? Read on for the top skills and strategies for people management and how to improve these skills.

What is People Management?

People management, a subset of human resource management, involves training, developing, motivating, directing, and managing employees to promote professional growth and improve productivity. It is crucial for leaders like managers, department heads, and team leads to boost employee performance and oversee daily workplace activities. 

People management encompasses recruitment, ongoing support, task delegation, and employee direction. People managers handle new talent, employee engagement, and career development tasks, often overseeing new employees’ onboarding and training processes. They also provide feedback and mentorship to employees, fostering a collaborative approach that helps them reach their goals and work cohesively with the team. 

Top priorities for people managers include recruiting, onboarding, training and development, performance management, employee engagement, and compensation and benefits organisation. People management is a top priority for managers, as it directs employees and brings out the best in them.

The Importance of Effective People Management

Effective people management is very important for a functional company, as it can boost retention, employee engagement, and organisational effectiveness. Managers can significantly impact employee experience, as people often leave a company rather than a manager.

A well-managed people management system increases the chances of retaining valuable employees. Empowering employees through feedback, goal-setting, career development, or workflow management is a powerful engagement tool, as employees who feel challenged within their roles are more engaged in their work. This empowerment builds trust, as managers who dedicate time and energy to supporting employee growth are often the kind of managers people trust.

Organisational effectiveness is also enhanced when employees are clear on their role within the organisation and team, feel their contributions are valued, and feel personally advocated for. By improving employee performance, organisations can increase the chances of meeting team objectives within the broader company mission while having fun.

Essential People Management Skills Every Leader Should Have

The people management skills necessary for leaders and managers are as follows: 

  • Communication: Effective communication is crucial for people management success, requiring managers to maintain open, honest lines with colleagues striking a balance between forthrightness and courtesy.
  • Organisational aptitude: People management involves efficient time management, meeting agendas, communication follow-ups, and utilising project management tools to manage company and team processes effectively.
  • Accountability: Leaders must accept personal accountability for their team’s work, fostering a culture of trust and collaboration, fostering a sense of role models and improving performance.
  • Active listening: Active listening involves maintaining eye contact, offering cues, and waiting for the speaker to finish. Effective leaders keep an open mind, allowing employees to express ideas without interrupting.
  • Empathy: Empathy is crucial for leaders to understand employees’ perspectives and motivations, empowering them and benefiting both the company and the employee.
  • Creativity: Individuals and workers possess unique qualities and motivations, necessitating imaginative thought for problem-solving. Developing unconventional problem-solving techniques can enhance people management.
  • Conflict resolution: Conflict in teams arises from differing opinions. A strong leader can analyse situations, identify root causes, and resolve disputes by listening to team members and developing mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Trust: Trust is crucial in leadership, and leaders should convey their faith and support to their team. Allowing employees to complete assigned tasks without interference and assisting when needed is also beneficial.
  • Motivation: Empowering employees by identifying their abilities, strengths, aspirations, and needs is crucial for motivation, as salary increases may only be effective for some.
  • Patience: Patience is crucial for demonstrating compassion and respect in a team. It can be shown through training, problem-solving, and mediating conflicts, ensuring workers can rely on you.

People Management Strategies

The following are effective people management strategies leaders can adapt:

#1. Know and Understand Your Organisation’s Systems

Learn how your systems work together and how they connect. Each group in the organisation works toward a different goal that helps the company’s overall goal be reached. How does each team’s work help reach that big business goal? What kind of rules does your group follow? Does it come close to meeting the goals that were set? In what ways do the different jobs that make up the team work together? What are those roles? What are the responsibilities that come with each role? Why do we need to care about them?

#2. Hire the Right Team and Set Expectations

When hiring a new team member, consider the strengths and weaknesses of your current team and identify the skillset that would fill the gaps. Consider both internal candidates and diverse applicants, ensuring diverse perspectives. Ensure equity in pay and expectations for new hires and all employees, addressing potential pay disparities based on gender, race, or other factors.

Remember that you are in a power position and set the stage for your team. Set clear expectations for each role and individual, including deliverables, deadlines, backups, and expectations for increased ownership. This will help create a fair, inclusive, and equitable team environment. Remember, you are in a position of power and should set the stage for your team.

#3. Employ Strength-Based Approach

A strengths-based approach encourages positive growth by acknowledging an individual’s strengths and addressing areas for improvement. This approach can benefit teamwork as it promotes collaboration. Regular meetings with the team, individually and as a whole, foster trust and open communication. This approach helps address issues and frustrations within the designated forum, preventing them from escalating. Managers can also monitor the team’s performance and track initiatives, enabling quicker identification and resolution of issues. Overall, a strengths-based approach fosters a positive work environment.

#4. Create a Safe Work Environment

Create a safe environment where employees can freely discuss their successes and failures without fear of repercussions. Encourage open discussion of ideas, even ridiculous ones, as they can often be ingenious. Recognize the value of diverse perspectives and allow them to be heard and considered. This environment can foster creativity, problem-solving, and invention.

#5. Welcome Feedback and Mentor Your Members

Welcome feedback to foster growth and identify areas for improvement. Lead by example, demonstrating desired team behaviour and boundaries. Also, be a mentor, sharing your professional journey to help employees reach their next level of development and opportunity. This approach ensures your team follows your lead and benefits from your guidance.

Components of Effective People Management

A strong understanding of the components of people management is necessary for a great leader to guide team members effectively. The components are as follows:

#1. Understanding the Employees in the Organisation

Understanding the employees in the company, including their personalities, motivations and personal and professional ambitions, is essential to effective people management. A greater mutual understanding of individuals and groups may be achieved by cultivating empathy, attentive listening, and an attitude that puts people first.

When a leader or manager understands the distinct characteristics and skill sets of individuals, he is able to put them in the right teams and assign befitting tasks.

#2. Collaborating to Be More Productive and Efficient

Work cannot be done in silos, even for activities involving a single team member. Success and failure are a function of the team as a whole. Companies and managers can ensure the best outcomes by using collaboration solutions for the team.

Also, individuals should be assigned duties they can handle with good team cooperation to bring value to the work process and workers’ lives. This will also increase the effectiveness of the team. Participating in activities that involve interaction with other human and non-human components helps workers understand their role in achieving the organisation’s goals. This approach adds value to both the working environment and employees’ lives.

#3. Building a Team That Works on Future Projects

Human resource management is a sequential process that begins with talent acquisition, which involves assembling efficient teams. It is crucial for a team’s success that every member is aware of its mission. The process begins with selecting the right resources, such as recruiting platforms, creating a trustworthy employer brand, and providing an engaging candidate experience.

After recruiting qualified individuals, educating and assisting them in expanding their skills is essential to meeting the company’s evolving requirements. Investing in professional growth leads to increased loyalty and dedication. Establishing procedures, limits, and a solid operational framework is also crucial for creating an ideal team structure, contributing to a roadmap to success and a workable plan for triumph.

#4. Maintain Quality Communication in the Team

The quality of team collaboration is directly linked to the quality of communication. Hence, effectively managing team members can be enhanced through open communication channels and feedback.

Also, the company’s culture and communication style significantly impact employees’ understanding of their roles, which makes communication crucial in determining employees’ job satisfaction and the success of people management strategies. Companies must provide appropriate communication channels and feedback to encourage frequent, efficient, and error-free employee interaction. Therefore, companies must prioritise effective communication and feedback to ensure successful people management.

#5. Understand Different Work Styles and Approaches

In a business environment that values respect, loyalty, and dedication, management must capitalise on the uniqueness of people. This involves confronting, acknowledging, and tackling differences constructively. People have diverse perceptions and approaches to problems due to generations, cognition, working preferences, and behaviours. This often leads to disagreements, which can be overt or passive. Resolving these disputes is crucial as it can result in anger and negativity or strengthen the team. The manager must decide which path to take, as it is their responsibility to determine what path to take in managing people.

How to Improve Your Leadership and People Management Skills

Do the following to improve your leadership and people management skills:

  • Evaluate your emotional intelligence
  • Take leadership and management courses
  • Be clear about your goals and approaches
  • Encourage and motivate your team members
  • Learn to delegate authority
  • Give and accept feedback
  • Be openminded


Effective people management is essential for leaders to create motivated, engaged, and productive teams. By focusing on these skills, leaders can improve their overall performance and contribute to the success of their organization.


What does good people management look like?

Good people management involves understanding and engaging with employees, creating a healthy communication flow, investing in employee talent and growth, managing emotions, recognising the importance of employee wellbeing, creating a supportive environment, managing morale, and ensuring performance. Good managers understand their role in the team and strive to support them in achieving their goals.

What are the 5 C’s of people management?

The 5 C’s of people management are clarity, communication, conflict resolution, commitment, and competence. These elements are crucial for building an engaging employee experience, optimising talent retention, and ensuring business success.

What is the role of people management?

People management involves hiring and training talent, fostering employee engagement and well-being, resolving conflicts, building relationships, and communicating effectively. It consists of setting expectations, developing empathy, and creating psychological safety.

What are the 4 P’s of people management?

The 4 P’s of people management, particularly in change management, involve identifying the change’s individuals, processes, purpose, and performance. This helps in effectively planning, communicating, and implementing the change, ensuring it achieves its intended outcomes and is well-planned, communicated, and implemented.

Is people management a skill?

People management is a skill that involves both soft skills’ and ‘hard skills’. Soft skills involve interpersonal interactions like communication, empathy, leadership, problem-solving, and recognition. Hard skills involve task-oriented abilities like problem-solving and recognition.


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