People management: 7 tips to consider when managing staff

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Managing staff effectively helps teams and organisations accomplish their goals. The staff can become more productive and loyal to the company with proper guidance and training. If you have taken up a new management role or are about to, learning how to effectively manage people in the work environment is necessary. In this article, we discuss various practical tips for managing staff that can help you excel in your management role.

Tips for effectively managing staff

Effectively managing staff can be challenging since managers can work with different personalities in the workplace, making each feel valued and respected. They know how to bring out the best in their subordinates and foster a positive work culture. The following tips can help you manage staff:

1. Understand your team

If you're managing a new team, the first step is to have private communication with each of them to learn about their personality type, approach to work and preferred leadership style. For example, some employees prefer a work environment where they can work independently, while others require hands-on management. Having a one-on-one conversation can reveal these preferences.

During the discussion, you can find out their strengths, what they enjoy working on, their career goals and how the last manager helped to achieve those goals. You can also find out their preferred method of giving and receiving feedback and if they like recognition for successfully handling a project. Learning about these things can help you adjust your management technique to suit every team member. It may also enable you to understand their competency, so you know the type of task to assign them.

Related: Discover how to support your team members in the workplace

2. Delegate tasks

Delegating is crucial as it helps you focus on essential tasks and empowers your team to discover their potential and improve on it. Team members can gain knowledge and develop skills to support their professional development. In addition, it may improve their commitment to work and the company as they feel trusted and respected when allowed to handle important tasks. During conversations with team members, you can learn their strengths to determine the tasks to assign to them.

Also, know what type of tasks to delegate. Some jobs may look easy to complete, but they usually take time. For example, deleting marketing emails from your inbox. Then there are time-consuming tasks, which could be too much for one person to handle. You can break these tasks into smaller segments and give capable team members to manage them. You can also delegate tasks in which you don't have the required expertise or can easily teach a team member to handle them. Here are some things to consider when delegating tasks:

  • Choose the team members capable of handling the task. If the task requires collaboration, only assign it to those that enjoy working with others.

  • If unsure of the team member's capabilities, consider calling a meeting and asking them to select the tasks they're most comfortable handling. Allowing them to choose tasks can also increase their commitment to it.

  • Let the person you're delegating know why you're giving them that responsibility. Also, make them understand that every task is an opportunity to acquire new skills and grow professionally.

  • Provide all vital information, resources and training needed for handling the task.

  • Be precise on the goals, milestones and expected results.

  • Allow staff to resolve issues independently by avoiding micromanaging.

  • Provide feedback for every delivered task, so that team members know where to improve when handling similar functions in the future.

  • Always show appreciation for tasks completed.

Related: How to delegate tasks in 9 steps (plus skills and importance)

3. Set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals

Setting goals can serve as a guide to direct the team's effort on projects to complete and how to spend their time. It can help them identify and focus on essential tasks while ignoring unrelated ones. In addition, team members are more motivated, which improves the performance and engagement of team members. These reasons are why it's vital for managers to set and discuss goals with team members.

After setting goals, ensure that team members are achieving them. Consider meeting regularly to check their progress, identify obstacles, adjust goals and review their performance. After they've achieved a goal, it's not time to relax but to set new targets as this keeps everyone productive. When setting goals, keep the following things in mind:

  • Ensure the goals align with the organisation's vision.

  • Set goals that are SMART. When setting goals, keep them precise, measurable, realistic and business-aligned with a realistic timeframe while providing the necessary tools and resources.

  • Ensure team members participate in goal setting to increase engagement and make them accountable.

  • Review the last goal you set and identify the obstacles that the team resolved and the goals that the team didn't achieve. With this information, you can develop better plans and think of better ideas to achieve them.

Related: How to develop SMART goals (with examples)

4. Encourage open communication

Another way to manage team members is by encouraging open communication to enable everyone to understand each other and work effectively. Communication allows managers and team members to honestly discuss issues that may hinder them from achieving their goals. They can hear from different viewpoints and debate solutions before choosing the best way to resolve issues.

Some of the ways to encourage communication among staff include:

  • Let team members know the various communication channels available to reach you, such as email, mobile phone or collaboration apps.

  • Allow staff to be free to ask questions, pitch ideas or voice their concerns about a goal, project or idea.

  • Learn to listen to your team, whether it's their questions, requests or arguments so that you can better understand them and they can feel respected.

  • Explain tasks concisely so that team members can clearly understand their responsibilities and fulfil them.

  • Give regular feedback to the staff, so they know what they're doing right or wrong and what areas to improve.

  • Organise events where team members can form relationships, relax and unwind.

Related: 4 types of communication (with examples)

5. Map out a workflow process

When working on a project, creating a workflow can help you understand the roles of every team member and the overall impact it has on the project. It also helps to deliver the project on time as you can add a timeline for each role the staff handles. To create an effective workflow process, consider the following steps:

  1. Start by brainstorming ideas with team members and gathering the necessary information and requirements for completing the project.

  2. Define the project's goals and objectives before creating a plan to execute them.

  3. Identify the project stakeholders and set up a meeting to discuss the project further.

  4. Define the timeline to keep the project time-bound and outline the milestones and deliverables.

  5. Assign work to team members based on their capacity and create avenues for adjusting timelines, if necessary, to complete the task correctly. Ensure tasks have a priority level so they know which to focus on more.

  6. Track the project's progress and ensure everyone involved is on track. Find out the causes of delay, if any, and resolve them immediately.

  7. Review and provide feedback after stakeholders have approved the project.

  8. Provide a report on the project, noting what worked and where improvements are necessary.

6. Manage conflicts

Your ability to quickly resolve conflicts portrays you as a capable leader who cares about the staff's well-being. It also ensures a positive work environment where everyone can be productive. Some tips that can help in managing conflict include:

  • Set up a meeting with everyone involved in the conflict.

  • Hear from both sides and ensure they avoid hurtful words.

  • Ask both parties to summarise each other's accounts to help them see things from another viewpoint.

  • Guide the discussions to ensure no one strays away from the issue. Focus on resolving one issue at a time.

  • After listening to both sides, summarise each of their explanations to ensure there's no misunderstanding.

  • Brainstorm solutions with the parties to resolve the conflict and choose a solution they both agree to.

  • After everyone agrees on a solution, inform them of the steps to take to ensure they act on the solution and avoid further conflict.

  • Check with both parties to see if they're respecting their side of the agreement.

Related: How to resolve team conflicts successfully at work

7. Lead by example

Become what you expect from the team. If you want your team members to be collaborative, show that you're a team player by working with them, seeking their opinions and approvals and meeting project deadlines. Most times, it's not what you say people listen to, but it's the things you do they observe. When team members see your hard work and dedication to completing projects, meeting deadlines and keeping commitments, they want to do the same, which can increase their productivity. Some of the ways to lead by example include:

  • Continuously learn new leadership skills and undergo leadership training to improve your team's value.

  • Take calculated risks and make complex decisions following appropriate steps.

  • Have a set of solid morals such as transparency, honesty, respect and integrity.

  • Value every member of the team.

  • Recognise and reward high performance.

  • Embrace diversity by creating policies and procedures that make staff from different cultures feel welcomed.

  • Take care of your physical, emotional and mental health.

Related:

  • Guide to People Management: Steps and Skills for Success

  • The Importance of Managing a Team Through Change (Plus Tips)


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