People Management Skills

How do you develop and measure your People Management Skills?

Within all organisations, there are many challenges referred to as “People Management”. The ones most people think about are internal relationships – your line reports, your peers, your line manager, and the many indirect relationships within your organisation. However, there are many more relationships to consider, and your people management skills may apply to the following:
• How do you manage yourself?
• If you have them, how do you manage your suppliers and clients?
• Specifically to the third sector, how do you manage volunteers?

In fact, the more you consider it from the perspective of relationships, the more people you need to manage in one way or another, and with many different perspectives. So how can we develop people management skills that will deal with such complexities?

A Simple Approach to People Management

Here, I am going to outline a simple approach with common applications that will enhance your people management skills in the above situations. I hope you agree when you have read to the end!

There are many aspects of relationships with others which you will develop very naturally as a social creature. If you are looking at Managing others, relationships are helpful, however managing people usually involves creating change and this is where you can meet resistance. To make changes involving others, it is vital to find some tangible levers that will help them to find their own motivation to work with you towards common goals. Notice here that I recommend you help the other parties find their own motivation. When I hear people talk about “motivational skills” and “motivating others”, this is very hard to do. The good news is that, unlike many approaches offered elsewhere, I firmly believe you can help others find their own motivation by seeking out what they will notice is different if they achieve goals you have in common.

This approach works when you have an agreed requirement to make a change (or changes), and you are trying to persuade others to help you, or to permit you to make these changes. Essentially, having set out the change you would like to see and explained some of the organisation’s needs for making this change, you are part way there if you achieve general agreement around the goal. To find internal motivation, you need to establish what all stakeholders will notice is different when the change has been made.
You can do this in 1-2-1 or group situations by working through the following conversational model:

1. If we were to achieve the goal(s) successfully, what would you notice was different? What else?
2. Referring to other stakeholders, what would they notice was different? What else?

Having refined and recorded the answers as measurable and observable differences until all present can find no more, look at the list and ask:

3. Are we noticing any of these differences happening now? If so, where and when? Identify all happening now.

And then finally
4. If we were to take a small step towards how we would like things to be different, through applying some extra focus or resource, which of these could we do next? Identify all that are helpful next small steps.

The Good News

The good news is that as a result of stage 1 of this conversation, you will have a better understanding of the noticeable differences that all stakeholders present would like to see when the goal has been achieved. This will help you to measure the progress towards these noticeable differences from the beginning of the project, which also helps you to review progress and make sure you are on track.

As a result of stage 2, you will also have identified the others who are impacted by this project, and will have an idea of what they will seek as noticeable differences as well.

Stage 3 demonstrates to all present that some of the differences sought as a result of the planned change are happening now, so this builds confidence that the changes are building on what is working already.

Even better news is that you will have developed an Action Plan at stage 4, and this can be taken away by those present for implementation.

By following these steps, you will have specific, measurable people management skills and your team will find their own internal motivation to deliver the changes you seek every time.