People Management Skills (With Definition and Examples)
Updated 23 March 2023
Strong people management skills help you successfully lead a group of people. These skills may assist you in formal people management roles, such as supervisor and project manager. Developing your people management skills can also help you manage people in an unofficial capacity and improve your chances of advancing to a management role. In this article, we explain what these skills are, explain how you can improve and promote your skills for managing people.
What are people management skills?
People management skills are abilities that help people get the best results from a team. These skills help people communicate and interact with their team members. They also help team members achieve their individual and shared goals. Skills for managing people are soft skills, as they help people interact with others and transfer to different roles and sectors.
Examples of people management skills
Here are some essential skills for successfully managing people:
Communication skills help managers present ideas to their team members. These skills help them articulate concepts clearly and inspire others to feel excited about them. With clear communication from managers, employees can confidently perform their duties and understand their importance. Communication skills also help managers give feedback to help individuals improve and succeed. Good communication from managers can increase efficiency as employees understand what's required of them and why it matters. It can also increase employee retention, as people usually prefer working with managers who communicate clearly and inspire them.
Active listening helps managers engage with the members of their team. This technique involves listening to their team members, and then summarising what they say. A team member can then confirm the manager understands them or clarify the concept. Managers who use this technique show they care about their team members, which can instil trust. It can also teach a manager what their team needs from them to succeed.
Managing people involves solving many problems related to projects and day-to-day business operations. Creating rosters that consider each employee's external responsibilities, developing realistic project schedules and determining why a business has a high employee turnover rate are all issues someone managing people may solve. Strong problem-solving skills help managers devise the best solutions quickly. Efficient problem-solving can help a team keep moving toward their goals and minimise the risk of issues becoming major concerns for the business.
People who manage others rely on themselves for direction. For example, when a manager is motivating their team members to work hard to meet a deadline, they use internal motivation to drive themselves forward. Self-management also helps people managing others manage emotions. While managing a team can be stressful at times, successful managers know how to moderate their emotions and stay calm. This ability helps them maintain positive relationships with their team members and get the best performances from them.
Managers use their conflict resolution skills to repair relationships between team members. They may mediate discussions between employees in conflict and help them see each party's point of view. They may also suggest ways that employees could compromise to work better together. Swift conflict resolution can repair minor rifts before they impact the delivery or quality of projects.
Read more: What Is Conflict Resolution?
Flexible people can adapt to changing circumstances, create new plans that reflect the current situation and continue managing their teams with minimal disruption. They can also accept that the members of their team may have different strategies for completing tasks. Flexibility helps someone managing people adapt and adjust their approach or expectations as required. While many people are naturally more flexible than others, being flexible is a skill that people can learn to manage others better.
How to improve people managing skills
Here are several ways you can improve your skills in managing people:
1. Volunteer to manage people in the community
Consider your interests and skills and volunteer for a community group that lets you manage people. For example, if you enjoy playing cricket, you could volunteer to coach a children's cricket team. If you're passionate about a charity, you could volunteer to manage a fundraising event or program for this organisation.
2. Enrol in a management course
While people management is a soft skill, formal training programs can teach you new techniques or strategies. Many training institutes have short courses that can teach you management techniques over a day or two. You could also study for a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management or Diploma of Leadership and Management through your nearest vocational education and training centre. While completing these courses may take longer, they provide more in-depth education and a nationally recognised qualification that may help you secure a management role.
3. Work with a mentor
Identify someone who manages people that you admire and discuss forming a mentoring relationship with them. This person may be your current or former manager or someone you admire in your industry. Meeting regularly with your mentor provides the opportunity to discuss your skills and career aspirations. Your mentor can appraise your current management skills and suggest ways to develop them. They may also share stories about their skill development and strategies they found helpful in their careers.
4. Participate in professional development opportunities
Leadership conferences and seminars can also teach you more about managing people. Listen carefully to the speakers and take notes about their lectures. If you have the opportunity, you could ask them questions about their leadership journey and request suggestions on how you could improve your skills.
5. Read about leaders you admire
People management is a key skill for business leaders. Reading about the leaders you admire can teach you how they've managed people through their careers. Autobiographies and interviews and feature articles in business publications can teach you more about the leaders that inspire you.
Skills for people management in the workplace
These strategies can help you improve your skills in the workplace:
Ask for feedback. Your manager and the people you manage can provide constructive advice about your skills and their effectiveness.
Volunteer for management duties. Volunteering to lead projects or new departments gives you the opportunity to practise and develop your people-managing skills.
Discuss your goals with management. Making the management team aware that you want to improve your people managing skills can present new opportunities. For example, management may recommend you for a promotion or tell you about a new professional development opportunity.
How to highlight people managing skills
Promoting your people-managing skills can help you secure a job managing employees. Highlighting these skills can also help you find a job with a business looking for motivated employees they may promote in time. Below are ways you can highlight your people-managing skills during your job search:
1. People management skills for a resume
State your people managing skills and the experiences and training that helped you develop them. You can clearly show your people managing skills in a separate skills section. You could also mention your skills in your professional summary and experience section. Using the same skill terms as the job advertisement can help your resume pass through an applicant tracking system.
2. People management skills for a cover letter
Noting your people managing skills in your cover letter reinforces the idea you have fully developed these abilities. Mentioning your people managing skills can show your suitability for a management job or motivation to advance. Try to expand on the management skills you mentioned on your resume. For example, you might mention these skills before explaining why you love managing people.
3. People management skills for a job interview
A job interview provides an opportunity to discuss your people-managing skills in more detail. You might also note your people management skills during interviews for non-management jobs when explaining your career aspirations and versatility. Listen carefully to each question and consider if you can naturally mention your people-managing skills in your answers. For example, you could mention management skills you applied to address past issues or challenges. You could also mention the people managing skills you might use to resolve a fictional scenario.
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