How to Manage People Like a Pro: 15 Tips 👩‍💼

  • Remote Working & Freelancing
Contra Tips
· 7 min read

Learn what people management is and how to manage people with our practical 15 tips. Plus, discover key people management skills and how to develop them.

Navigating the art of people management is both a challenge and a privilege. It’s about guiding, inspiring, and fostering an environment where individuals can thrive, innovate, and collaborate. Whether you're an independent professional or a dedicated client, understanding its profound impact can reshape your professional journey. 

In this guide, we'll cover what people management is, why it’s important, and how to manage people. We’ll also shed light on the pivotal skills that fortify leadership and hand you the keys to building a harmonious work environment. Ready to refine your people management acumen, set the stage for growth in freelance ventures or fruitful client partnerships, and pave the way for lasting professional bonds? Here’s what you need to know.

What is people management? 🌟

People management, often likened to human resource (HR) management, is the strategic orchestration of leading, developing, and organizing individuals within a professional setting. 

In the world of Independents, it transcends traditional definitions. It's about fostering genuine connections, understanding unique motivations, and maximizing collaborative synergies. This covers talent recruitment, professional growth investments, performance evaluations, conflict resolution, and ensuring all collaborators feel valued and aligned with project goals. 

In essence, people management is the heartbeat of success, resonating in offices, start-ups, remote work settings, and even our pursuits, reminding us that understanding, empathy, and growth are the true drivers of achievement.

Why is people management important? 🔥

People management isn't just about supervising teams; it's about nurturing, guiding, and optimizing the HR of an organization or project to ensure both individual and collective success. Here’s why it’s essential:

  • Enhances productivity: People management goals include clearly informing everyone about their roles and responsibilities, ultimately boosting overall productivity.
  • Cultivates positive work culture: A skilled people manager fosters a culture of recognition, mutual respect, and open communication, leading to a more motivated and committed workforce.
  • Reduces turnover: By addressing concerns and ensuring job satisfaction, good people management practices can significantly reduce turnover and the associated costs.
  • Drives professional growth: People management helps identify and nurture potential, providing opportunities for professional development and skill enhancement.
  • Boosts business outcomes: A well-managed team collaborates more effectively, ensuring projects are completed efficiently, thus positively impacting business results.
  • Strengthens relationships: For Independents, adept people management skills extend to client relationships, ensuring smoother project delivery and fostering long-term engagements.

The different types of people management styles 📝

People management styles are approaches leaders adopt to guide, motivate, and supervise their teams. Here's a breakdown of five notable management styles:

Autocratic 🗣️

Autocratic managers operate with unilateral decision-making, holding firm control over team activities with minimal input. While effective in pressing situations demanding swift choices, over-reliance can inhibit creativity and dampen team morale.

Participative (or democratic) 👥 

Leaders practicing the participative style actively involve their team in decision-making, valuing collaboration and shared insights. This style fosters a collective sense of ownership, although the collaborative nature might sometimes slow down decisions.

Transformational 🎭 

Transformational leaders are visionaries, motivating their teams toward a shared future vision. Their charismatic approach drives change and encourages innovation. However, strict adherence to this style can sometimes miss the finer operational details.

Laissez-faire 🫂 

Laissez-faire, or hands-off management, entrusts teams with significant autonomy in decision-making. This style suits seasoned teams that thrive independently but may falter without clear direction or oversight.

Servant leadership 💯 

Servant leaders prioritize the team's needs, emphasizing personal growth and well-being. While fostering a nurturing environment, there's a risk of being perceived as lacking authority in more structured settings.

5 top management skills 🤩

Whether you're leading a large team or collaborating on a tight-knit project, certain skills stand out as paramount. These quintessential skills not only fortify your management prowess but also amplify the synergy within your team. Let's delve into the top five management skills that every professional should prioritize in their repertoire:

  1. Communication: The foundation of effective management lies in clear communication. Managers who convey expectations, share information, actively listen, and create a cohesive team journeying toward collective goals. Effective communication is also one of the best tips for managing remote employees.
  2. Emotional intelligence: Understanding and managing emotions is vital. Managers with emotional intelligence boost morale, enhance relationships, and create a harmonious workplace.
  3. Decision-making: Quick and informed decision-making, especially under pressure, separates good managers from great ones. Analyzing data, understanding implications, and trusting their instincts are key facets of this skill.
  4. Delegation: Efficient managers recognize the strengths within their team and allocate tasks accordingly. Delegation optimizes productivity and empowers team members, fostering growth and development.
  5. Conflict resolution: Differences are inevitable in any team. Effective managers address conflicts head-on, mediating disputes and ensuring harmony within the team.

How to develop people management skills 🤔

Fostering superior people management skills is a necessity. Advancing these skills ensures individual growth and cultivates stronger, more cohesive team dynamics. The beauty lies in the journey, and the journey to becoming an adept people manager is both rewarding and transformative. Here are five metaphorical people management tools to help you cultivate and refine your people management skills:

  1. Continuously learn: Dive into courses, workshops, or seminars on leadership and management. Doing so  provides updated techniques and strategies you can apply in real-world scenarios.
  2. Ask for feedback: Regularly take feedback from your peers, subordinates, or even clients. This helps you identify improvement areas and shows your commitment to growth.
  3. Engage in role-playing: Simulating real-life management situations helps you practice your response and strategy in a controlled environment. It sharpens your decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  4. Seek mentorship and coaching: Aligning with a mentor or coach in your field provides invaluable insights from someone who has been there and done that. Their experience can guide you through the challenges of people management.
  5. Listen actively: Enhance your listening skills by being present in conversations, understanding different perspectives, and refraining from immediate judgment. This builds trust and makes others feel valued.

15 tips for succeeding at managing people 🤗

Managing people isn't just about task delegation but building meaningful relationships that foster growth, motivation, and trust. Here are 15 indispensable tips to guide you in achieving people management success:

  1. Lead by example: Display the values, ethics, and behaviors you expect from your team.
  2. Openly communicate: Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing ideas and concerns.
  3. Recognize and reward: Acknowledge individual and team achievements to boost morale and motivation.
  4. Share feedback consistently: Constructive criticism and praise, when delivered appropriately, can drive continuous improvement.
  5. Trust your team: Empower team members by having faith in their expertise and judgment.
  6. Encourage work-life balance: Burnout diminishes productivity. Promote your team members to strike a balance between work and self-care to ensure consistent performance.
  7. Prompt continuous learning: Encourage team members to pursue courses or workshops to enhance their skills.
  8. Practice conflict resolution: Address conflicts immediately and objectively to maintain a harmonious environment.
  9. Embrace diversity: Diverse teams bring varied perspectives. Identify and leverage these differences for better solutions.
  10. Set clear expectations: Ensure everyone understands their roles, responsibilities, and expected results.
  11. Invest in team-building activities: Foster camaraderie and trust through team-building exercises and games.
  12. Stay updated: Keep abreast of the latest management trends and best practices to remain effective.
  13. Be adaptable: Flexibility in approach and strategy can often yield better results.
  14. Cultivate emotional intelligence: Understanding and managing emotions can greatly enhance interpersonal interactions.
  15. Stay transparent: Sharing both good and bad news transparently can foster respect and trust among your team.

Steer toward success with Contra ❣️

People management is the heart of effective leadership, where skills and strategies intertwine to orchestrate success. Like a conductor uniting instruments, a skilled manager harmonizes talents into a symphony of achievement. Envision yourself as that conductor, guiding with purpose and unity. The journey of leadership blends self-discovery with guiding others to their potential. For building remote freelance teams, explore Contra and match with skilled Independents. And for freelancers looking to connect with clients, try Contra for Independents today. 

How to Give Effective Feedback and Motivate Others 💪How to Give

Discover how to give feedback that inspires growth. Plus, check out practical strategies and proven techniques in this comprehensive guide.

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