How to manage people, and do it well

Managing people is an art and it’s not something we’re born knowing how to do. Some people might take to managing people more naturally than others, but generally they too have to learn what works and what doesn’t through trial and error. As a techie type of person (which you probably are if you are reading this), being a people person is not something many people would call you, are we right? You might be on the more “mind my own business and let me code in silence” scale of things. But having to manage a bunch of like-minded techs or other members of staff, might be something you currently are or will be asked to do at some point in your career. So, what are the top things to learn if you want to managing people well?

There’s no I in Team

The saying has been horribly overused, but the basis of it is very true. Very little in business can be achieved alone, there is always a need for a strong, diverse team to deliver on expectation. Acknowledge that even you alone, as manager, need your team members in order to achieve. Believing that you are an island will be your, or any of your team members, first step to sinking the ship.

Team Building for Dummies

Everyone hates those team building days where you have to run through a lame obstacle course and pretend to have learnt how important team work is, or sit opposite someone in an awkward sharing circle while you’re being told why you’re difficult to work with. Many people think team building is ineffective, when in fact it’s only bad team building is. Research done by Small Group Research shows evidence that team building can have “measurable, positive effects on team performance.” Here is a list of the top 5 team building activities that actually work.

Do non-work stuff

We spend 80% of our lives at work, and as developers and coders it could even be more. If you asked every single one of your team mates if work was more important than their marriage, their kids, or their Nintendo Wii, the answer would be a resounding, “NO”.  Take the team out regularly for beers or lunch and chat about the ‘real’ stuff going in life, or just shoot the breeze about anything really. Only rule is, don’t talk shop. Leave work and work-related issues at the office and just get to know each other.

Celebrate individuality

Good managers will nurture talent. They will also understand that every single team member needs to be managed individually. The biggest mistake you can make as a manager is to homogenise your team. Respect and grow each person’s individual talents. Let them show you who they are and how they manage their tasks and time in order to be their most effective selves.

A compliment goes a long way

A good old “well-done” or a pat on the back really can boost a person’s confidence immeasurably. Even if you aren’t a person who values acknowledgement highly, understand that genuine praise for a job well done, instantly lifts a team members spirit and will make them want to try even harder.

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