How to Effectively Manage People

Over the last 32 years I have interviewed many executives and one question I also asks is; “What does it take to effectively manage people?” Most people have not given the question much thought and few have read enough books or articles to be able articulate a thoughtful answer. They kind of know and usually remember attributes of people they have worked for and liked the way their boss treated them. This anecdotal answer usually fails to capture all the critical elements of the successful management of people.

In our current and future workplace there is going to be tremendous pressure put on companies to attract and retain employees because of the mass exodus of baby boomers and the new workforce that will be mostly made up of millennials.

Millennials have repeatedly said they need to feel engaged in order to remain at their current company and are clearly demonstrating this with job changing and career changing at a rate that far exceeds baby boomers.

One aspect of “employee engagement” comes from people who are effective at managing others. The Gallup Group interviewed over a million people and asked workers about their performance. This is how they responded to; “If you do these things for us, we will do what the company needs of us.”   

The 12 Elements of Great Managing that emerged from their research are as follows:

1.     I know what is expected of me.

2.     I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.

3.     At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

4.     In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.

5.     My supervisor or someone at work seems to care about me as a person.

6.     These is someone at work who encourages my development.

7.     At work, my opinions seem to count.

8.     The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.

9.     My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

10. I have a best friend at work.

11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.

12. The last year, I had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

There are of course many ways to increase productivity for a company. You can cut costs by downsizing and ask your employees to do more with less people. You can automate which is the same formula of doing more with less people. You can grow your top line and not add additional people. Another solution is to get more out of your people by working at making them more engaged in their work and your company. Good managers go a long way to making that a reality and thus increase your chances of attracting and retaining talent.