People Management

People management covers three broad areas that are subject to training in ways that differ due to context and circumstances as shown in the graphics.

Relational aspects

People management is part of management, which also includes process management. Managing people is more than ensuring they do the right job and they do the job right. It is important to keep good relations with staff, making the work more fun and meaningful, to grow, and other initiatives and behaviours, which will be reflected in the quality and the way customers experience our organisation.

Individual Motivation - Motivation is a result of how we work together. Currently, the hygiene theory is the most applicable and practical motivational theory explaining motivation in the workplace. On the one hand we focus on how to understand better what motivates individuals and how to trigger them. On the other hand, we develop how to deal with demotivation. Demotivated staff often have not resolved issues that were closed for others. It is important they reveal these issues. To speak up is often not easy, yet it is essential to resolve them. Often staff keep to themselves. The major key to dealing with demotivation is understanding how to interview your co-worker who may have decided not to share the most relevant information on the subject with you. How to do this is one of the main subjects under this heading.

Team Dynamics - Teams typically produce more than groups. Groups are nothing more than individuals working together, but not producing more than they produce individually. Teams typically produce more than they would be able if working alone. Human nature does not always provide the right environment for teams to function well. We use empirical research on how teams clearly perform better, as well as insights based on team dynamics highlighting how we can foster relationships across a team. Separately, we can discuss team leaders' roles and how they can leverage the team’s performance.

Conflict management - Conflicts typically arise from disagreements. Resolving conflicts often implies an element of negotiation. Negotiation starts with understanding the position and arguments of all involved. Posture is a seperate aspect: being assertive without ever being aggressive. How to manage this complex combination is what we mostly cover under this heading.

People management: managing effectiveness

Being effective is doing the right things. This requires that we:

Determine objectives – relevant to the role of the team or the individual, but clearly fitting within the vision and strategy of the organisation. Objectives are SMART but how to develop smart objectives that make sense, is not a simple mechanical exercise.

Coach and train – Once people understand what the organisation wants them to achieve and they grasp why that has been requested, managers should ensure every member of their team operates the best way possible. This requires proper feedback given both on and off the job, relating to how work is executed, and based on results. Staff receiving such feedback will grow if the feedback is provided constructively and staff act differently. This is the secret of coaching turning 'average' people into great organisations.

Review performance – Even if we coach, train, and provide feedback regularly it is essential that staff understand, over the course of a longer period, how they perform and how it all fits together. Coaching and training and daily communication focus on snap shots, whereas performance reviews take an overview and integrate these different snapshots. Performance reviews provide wider context. It is important we use the past to look at how we can perform better in the future. How to engage staff is the main focus of our work.

Delegate and empower – Delegation is a confirmation of a person’s capability to perform a job independently without being instructed regularly. At that stage people are capable of operating independently within a department’s framework, without close supervision. Managers need to ensure they do not frustrate staff by mixing delegation and instruction. Typically managers like feedback, which is natural. However, how this feedback is agreed, used, and acted upon is important for making this a positive experience. Taking delegation one step further, accepting that staff is able to reinterpret the rules of the game, leads to empowerment.

Before empowerment is used, it is important all understand the implications.

Manage Situationally – Managing all staff the same way does not work. Some need instructions, others need intensive coaching and yet others are ready for delegation. To complicate matters, managers all have a preferred style that fits only some situations. The model provides a solid background for managing situationally. It is important managers can assess the development stage of each of their co-workers members and understand that these stages may be different depending on the task performed.

Managing efficiency

Efficiency is the art of doing what we are doing, really well. In a people management context this relates specifically to:

Using our time well – Historically, looking at time meant individuals looked at how they used their time. This is an excellent exercise and managers should review time use with each of their staff members. This is called first generation time management. However, a manager should focus specifically, as a team leader, on second generation time management, which deals with the implications of time use across a team. For instance, if a person uses his or her time badly, and that job requires the assistance of someone else, that other person is probably not using his or her time very well either. Increasingly, our time use is dependent on the time use of some of our colleagues or stakeholders. How to manage time in this broader context is more complex than first generation time management.

Running Meetings - Meetings have different typologies. Some are fairly straightforward, whereas others are far more complicated. We typically focus on how to manage group discussions in meetings where deals are made or decisions have to be taken. Often, the underlying process is badly understood, often resulting in relatively unproductive outcomes. This can be turned around, which is the main focus of our work in this area.

Delivering Negative Messages - By purpose, use the word “negative”. Often, there is nothing negative about the message. It is the way we deliver the message that makes the message negative, or our perceived reaction of those we deliver the message to. The key is to deliver messages in a way relevant and acceptable to adults who appreciate candid, honest and transparent communication, even if it might impact them negatively. We should not mix up the message with the consequence. How to do this rather productively is what we often focus on.

Communicate assertively – Clarity of communication is essential for our discussion partner to accept the message and understand it immediately without hesitation. If this is not provided, the discussion partner is puzzled and doubt is created. However, many people are not assertive in quite a number of situations. This subject is often included in our programmes providing them an approach participants can use in any situation, typically delivering results.

Recruiting discussions – In many organisations, managers interview candidates without ever reflecting on how to do this rather well. Typically it is of little use to repeat the interview HR or a colleague has done, you learn little more. Setting objectives (what we want to find out in an interview), knowing how to achieve this (given that the candidate wants to sell him or herself as well as possible) and ensuring that the interview provides a positive image towards the candidate, are subjects we focus on, as well as how to execute this practically. Even if a candidate is not accepted, the interview should be a positive experience for the candidate, leaving a positive image of our organisation, one that triggers them to recommend friends to consider being a candidate. Questions such as “are you hardworking?” may reveal little useful information. Rather, the question is “how do we find out whether someone is hard working?”. Under this general heading, we cover many of such issues.

Process Management

Process management is an important management activity. The activity is more system than people driven, although there is some potential overlap, as shown by the highlight in the graph.

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