5 Keys to People Management

I have spent the last 15 years in of my life working in professional services and thus have been managed by more senior people to me since that time.  For the last 10 years I have, in various capacities, managed staff.  People management is not a skill that can be taught rather it must be learned with real life experience.  At least that is my experience.

I have been thinking a lot of late about effective people management, in the context of me taking on some new staff to manage, and from those thoughts wrote myself a short manifesto of the key ways I intend to manage the people who work for me.  From that manifesto, here are my 5 keys to people management:

  1. Honesty: There is no other way to manage people in my view other than to be honest with them.  Simply: if you don’t tell your people the truth, sooner or later they are going to find out you are lying to them and any respect they have for you will be gone.
  2. The only good feedback is direct feedback: You spend a lot of time with the people that you work with and those who work for you.  The worst thing that one can do in this context is “beat around the bush” when it comes to giving feedback both positive and negative.  If something good has happened: say it.  If something bad has happened: say it.  It is that simple.
  3. Empathy: It is very easy, particularly if you are managing a number of people, to loose site of the fact that the people you are managing have a life outside of work.  That means that sometimes performance can be impacted on by the other things that are going on in your employee’s life.  Be empathetic and open to talking about what is going on and try to help find solutions.
  4. Don’t make promises you can’t keep: Nothing is more vexing than being promised something and then not receiving it.  It is important then in the context of managing people that one does not make any promises that one can not keep.  More to the point: don’t make a promise that requires something to happen to that you have no control over.  You will just look foolish.
  5. It is not show friends, it’s show business … Managing people is about extracting the best performance of your staff for, ultimately, the betterment of your business.  Whilst I would never advocate not being friendly with anyone you work with I think managers need to be careful that they do not become close friends with their staff.  It is going to be more and more difficult to counsel and manage staff if you become a close friend of that staff member.  This is not a popular view I know but I maintain that it is important to have a separation between friendships and work.

This is my road map for managing staff.  No doubt you will have your own but I hope these tips are of some use if you have staff to manage.

The Weekend Wager

Here is a four leg multi for sports fans out there interested in having a flutter this weekend:

Leg 1: Gold Coast Suns to defeat the Brisbane Lions by less than 40 points in the AFL.

Leg 2: Crusaders to cover the line (-7.5 points) against the Sharks in Super Rugby.

Leg 3: Canterbury Bulldogs to cover the line (-4.5 points) against the North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL.

Leg 4: New Zealand Warriors to defeat the Manly Sea Eagles in the NRL.

This multi will pay $16 for each dollar invested.

As always:

1. Please gamble responsibly.
2. All care has been taken with this tips but no responsibility vest in me for losses incurred.

Living with anxiety: finding a way to get through the day

I suffer from anxiety: I do not hide from it and I am honest about it.  That does not make it any easier to live with! Of late, I will concede, I have on occasion let my anxiety get the better of me.  I forgot the very simple strategy to dealing with anxiety that I have been using for the last 3 and a half years and was letting my anxiety, for want of a better term, win.

I did not even realise it was happening.  That is a the scariest thing.  After a couple of weeks feeling off I sat back and reflected on what I was doing differently and then discovered that I had not been going through my anxiety minimisation ritual / strategy.  Now that I am back using this ritual I thought I would share it.

So, here is my strategy for dealing with anxiety or an anxious moment:

  1. When you are feeling anxious, assuming you can recognise it, stop what ever it is that you are doing and shut your eyes.
  2. Ask yourself: What is it that is making me anxious?
  3.  Answer that question honestly and fulsomely.
  4. Then, ask yourself this question: Is there anything I can do about whatever is making anxious?
  5. If the answer to that question is yes then, if you can do what you need to do immediately, do it!
  6. If the answer to that question is yes but you can not do something about it immediately you have to allow yourself to let the thing making you anxious “go” until you can do something about it.
  7. If the answer to the question is no you can not do anything about that which is making you anxious then you have to allow yourself to let the thing making you anxious “go” permanently.

This is a simplistic approach I concede but mentally it is a ritual that helps calm me and help force me to think about whatever is making anxious rationally and clearly.

I find this ritual helps me immeasurably.  It may not work for you but it certainly won’t hurt you to try.  Just as importantly for me is making sure that where I have rituals that help calm my anxiety that I use them.  Don’t forget your rituals people: they could be the difference between a good day and a bad one.