Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Six Things You Should Know About Managing People

When I was promoted into a position where I was managing others, I realized that I had no idea as to how to be a good manager.  Over time, I discovered that few people are actually good managers; that’s because no one teaches us this skill – we learn from observing those who have managed us.  And since most of them don’t know how to manage, we continue to make the same mistakes that they did.

Consequently, I thought I would give a quick tutorial of things I have learned and observed over many years in business.

1.    Give those who report to you clear and precise direction
Your subordinates cannot read your mind.  You must let people know what you are thinking.  This means telling people what you expect, how you expect it and when you expect it to be complete.  There is nothing worse than giving an assignment and not verbalizing your expectations.  For instance, if you don’t give a due date, you cannot complain that it is late.

2.    Make yourself available
I have worked for people who have given me an assignment, but when I had a significant question, they were nowhere to be found or couldn’t be bothered. A good manager is available 24/7.  You need to make it known that you can be called at home at night, if it is necessary.

3.    If possible, include those who work for you in meetings where the outcome will affect their ability to complete their assignments.
Meetings have a way of changing situations.  Your subordinates may be wasting valuable time if you are in a meeting and they continue to work on an assignment which has changed.

4.    Be constructive, not critical
Managing well means that you help your people.  If they have done something wrong, don’t yell, don’t belittle, don’t complain, but let them know how they can do the assignment better.  You should be a facilitator not a blocker. And above all, be positive not negative.  Your feedback is critical to the success of the endeavor.

5.    Give your subordinates a full picture of what they are doing
When people know why they are doing something, they will do it better.   If they have a complete picture of how what they are doing fits into the whole, they will function more efficiently.

6.    It’s the results that matter
The first thing that I learned about managing people is that no two people, no matter how well trained they are, will do everything the same way.  You have to let people arrive at your conclusions their own way.  If you have spelled out your expectations, they should complete the assignment as you require.


  1. I once worked for an EVP who had a reputation of being tough. She ended up being one of the best managers I ever had, and she followed all of your tips above.

    One other thing she did was never hold a mistake against you. If you screwed up (and to be honest I did a couple of times) she would "nail you to the wall." But then it was over, she assumed you learned and wouldn't do it again, and the issue was over. That was so empowering to not be afraid to make a mistake. Fear can be paralyzing, and knowing that a mistake wouldn't hang over your head forever certainly gave me the courage to stretch and try!

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