Musthafa Ebadi
How To Be A Good People Manager!
by Musthafa Ebadi on November 17th, 2014

I believe one of the easiest ways to start a smooth conversation is through ice breakers. While I have few that I use depending on the situation one of my favorite one is about me being an IT Manager.
 
It goes something like this:  I have been an IT Manager for the last 12 years and I cannot tell a different between a router and a switch.

While its not far from accurate it often get a surprised, curious, and non believing reaction.  The trend for managers in IT, Finance, HR, and Legal continues to be the individual who rises through to the ranks from the same departments so its not surprising to get reactions that I get.
 
I explain to them that I got into IT management by chance not choice and the reason that I have sustained this long is because I am a people manager.
 
Being people manager requires you to have people skills and below is the list of 8 people skills I believe are important for you to succeed:
 
1. Understand People
People not only come in all shapes and sizes, but they come with different personality types as well. People are individuals, with as many similarities from one person to the next as differences. To communicate most effectively, each will require you to communicate with them in their own individual preference style, using their language, their body gestures, and their pace and intonation. How do you find out how best to communicate with someone? Spend time with them!
 
2. Express Your Thoughts Clearly
Our brains can only take so much information in at any one time. We are bombarded with messages every second of the day, so to compete with the barrage of 'noise' a person faces, your message needs to be clear, succinct and to the point.
It is very worthwhile taking time to plan your communication to ensure that you are taking the least amount of time to express the right level of thought in the most receptively simple manner.
 
3. Give People Respect They Deserve
Every person you meet deserves the respect for who they are. Its essential to show them that respect and appreciate their knowledge, experience, and skillset. When people are treated with respect they respond more positively. Its easier to build relationships when you respect people for who they are.
 
4. Listen To Them
I am amazed at how people still struggle with this basic people skill. There is a difference between hearing and listening. When you listen to people you make them part of the conversation and hence part of the process. No single person has answers to everything so when you listen to your people you get the required answers as well as 100% buy in to execute on plans and action items.
 
5. Ask For Feedback 
Alongside assertiveness techniques, the giving and receiving of feedback is a key communication skill that must be learnt if you want to have any hope of developing long-term relationships. Remember that truthfulness is a subjective view. What you may find distasteful in someone may be equally desirable from another's point of view.

6. Influence How Others Think and Act
We all have the opportunity to influence how others think and act. All the way from Cialdini's Persuasion principles down to simple violence (of a verbal or physical nature), we are daily able to shape the thoughts and actions of those around us.
From something as simple as smiling and saying, "Hello!" as a way of influencing someone's mood, to leading by example during an intense period of change, there are many ways of either leading to or drawing out of others required behaviours and attitudes.

Every attitude leads to a specific emotion that triggers a particular action/reaction. Shape the attitudes and you have a more reliable way of predicting actions.
 
7. Bring Conflicts to Surface & Resolve Them
Over the years I have learnt the importance of bringing conflicts and resentments to the surface where they can be more easily managed.
Your employees might be harbouring secret resentments of you, and unless you find out what they are, bring these 'dark secrets' out into the light of day, you are never going to be able to successfully deal with them.
It's embarassing, potentially humiliating and requires a strong level of patience not to launch straight into a defensive mode, but giving people the opportunity to express their concerns, disappointments and anger, face-to-face, gives you tremendous opportunity to put things right, or help them see where their thoughts and feelings are misplaced.
 
8. Collaborate With Others
The quickest way of burying yourself in excess detail and workload is to try and do everything yourself. Yet sharing the workload can be the smartest thing you will ever do. One bricklayer can only lay a certain number of bricks in an hour, but that same bricklayer can train 15 mates to lay bricks and suddenly those 15 bricklayers are building monuments while the first bricklayer is out securing more work for them.

The lesson is simple: try and do it all yourself and the 'all' will bury you; teach others to do what you do and you build a monument.

​Feel free to agree, disagree, or share your perspective using the comment section of this post.
 
Thanks for reading
 


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