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How to Manage People

25 Apr
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Managing people is essential for leading a successful team or organization. As a leader, you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team, as well as what motivates them. With true understanding, you can use your insight to create a positive environment that fosters collaboration and innovation.

Learning how to manage people in the workplace will help you build a high-performing team so you can achieve your organizational goals.1 Read on to learn tips for how to manage people in any organization.

Hire the Right People

Hiring the right people is the first step to being a successful manager. In addition to skills and experience, the people you hire will bring their unique blend of values and personality to your team. You can make your job easier by ensuring that this blend is an excellent match for your company. Being intentional about your organizational values and what constitutes a good employee-organization fit will help you achieve a successful, long-term match.

Implementing a good hiring process focuses on identifying candidates who have the right skills and fit your company's culture. Your process should encompass a step-by-step method that helps you effectively recruit new hires.2

The details will be specific to your organization, but the process should include the following elements:

  • Write effective job descriptions
  • Implement strategic advertising including an employee referral incentive program
  • Use a resume-screening process
  • Conduct a standardized initial phone interview that helps you discover candidates’ soft skills and determine if their values match your organizational values
  • Hold in-person or video interviews with short-listed candidates and relevant stakeholders
  • Conduct background and reference checks

Create a Positive Workplace Culture

A positive workplace culture prioritizes open communication, respect, and collaboration. Employees who feel valued and supported have higher morale and are more motivated to be top performers.3 As a manager, you set the stage for creating a positive culture by modeling the values you want to promote.

Additionally, prioritizing work-life balance and employee well-being begins from the top down. Encourage employees to take breaks when needed and set policies that ensure the work environment is safe and comfortable for everyone on your team.

A positive, supportive culture can also smooth the way when you’re wondering how to manage difficult people. Employees who are hard to work with—particularly those who were previously pleasant and easy to manage—are often experiencing personal problems. By approaching them with empathy, you can better connect them with the resources they need to handle their challenges.4

Set Clear Expectations and Goals

When you set clear expectations and goals from the beginning, your employees know what to focus on and understand what they’ll be held accountable for. Shifting goals and changing expectations will leave your team confused, unmotivated, and unsure of what they need to do to be successful.

Instead, provide an explicit roadmap that outlines the standards they need to achieve and what successfully meeting those standards looks like. With clear goals and expectations, your employees will know how to focus and prioritize daily tasks accordingly. They can avoid wasting time and effort on activities that aren’t aligned with organizational goals.5

Provide Regular Feedback

Regularly checking in with your employees will facilitate all of your other goals as a leader. Through one-on-one meetings with your team, you can communicate goals and standards and let them know how they’re doing. Frequent feedback can correct performance problems before they become serious issues.


One-on-ones also allow you to work with employees to develop comprehensive career plans. Regular meetings and feedback will help hold your employees accountable for achieving their own goals and hold you accountable for providing the resources they need to be successful.

Weekly Check-ins

Checking in with your employees individually every week will help you ensure everyone is aligned and on track. While you may think you don’t have enough time to schedule weekly one-on-ones, they don’t have to be time-consuming. You can schedule a quick check weekly and a more thorough meeting monthly. Staggering meetings will help keep your schedule from becoming too crowded.6

Work Performance Feedback

Feedback is a vital part of your relationship with both your employees and your superiors. Knowing how to manage up and provide feedback for your superiors is as important as knowing how to manage down. Pass along your employees' feedback when appropriate and provide your own ideas for organizational improvement.

Solicit Employee Feedback

In addition to providing feedback to your employees, you should ask them for their feedback as well. During your check-ins, find out how they feel about new policies and procedures. Ask them if they have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively.

Ask open-ended questions, and make sure you listen to the answers. You can significantly increase employee engagement and reduce employee turnover by asking employees what they think. It’s your opportunity to show your employees that you value their opinions. It’s also a great way to make improvements in your organization.

However, you’ll need to encourage open and honest communication before your employees will feel comfortable providing feedback. In addition to asking for feedback during regular check-ins, consider sending anonymous surveys periodically to allow people to say things they wouldn’t feel comfortable saying face-to-face.

Make sure you act on employee feedback whenever possible and follow up in subsequent meetings to let them know what action you’ve taken and what changes will be made. Simply asking for feedback without acting on it will erode your employees’ trust in you.

Encourage Creativity and Innovation

Innovation thrives in an environment that encourages employees to share their ideas and opinions without fear of criticism or ridicule. You can begin to promote creativity by building a diverse team with various life experiences, skills, and strengths.

Your team needs to feel safe in experimenting and failing. Let them know that no experiment is a failure as long as you learn something. A team is at its most creative when all ideas are considered.

You should also take a step back when it comes to problem-solving discussions. Let your team do the talking and brainstorming. When you add your ideas, no one will want to contradict you, and you could be shutting off some of the most creative solutions.7

Gain the Skills you Need for Upper-level Leadership

Whether you want to start a new career or advance your current one, getting an online MBA from the University of Kansas can pave the way. In our top-rated online program, you’ll gain core business competencies, as well as numerous hard and soft skills.

Our world-class business education will prepare you to reach your goals on your schedule. Schedule an appointment with our admissions advisor today to learn how you can get started.