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How to Be a Good People Manager

So you have a team of people around you. That’s a great step to get to in scaling your business.  You can afford to pay them, you have defined roles for them. It’s a good feeling. It’s not just you anymore. Kudos!

Watch out for a few things though.

You have big decisions to make now that will impact the combined capability and output of all the team, plus the culture and mood within.

Once you add people to your team, some-one has to manage those people. Being good at one thing in business or excelling in something, does not make some-one a good people manager. It’s an entirely separate skill to say, a technical expertise or subject matter expertise. The problem is that most people think they are not just good, but excellent people managers and you won’t know until you put them in that position. But you can’t afford to waste time either.

Here are my tips for creating happy and performing teams from my experience in a start-up where we could only afford interns at the beginning, so had to teach them everything.

Focus on the Goal not the Task

  1. My main tip is when you brief people to do a job, brief them on the goal, not the task. Don’t just ask some-one to do something, explain why you are asking them to do it, and the bigger picture around it. There is no quicker way for someone to lose interest in any task if they don’t understand why its important.


Measure (and Let Them Know You Will Be Measuring

  1. Use KPIs (shout out to my jargon buster) or Key Performance Indicators. This sounds more complicated than it is. It just means to measure what someone is doing in a clear and factual way without ambiguity. You don’t want an argument over the results!


  1. Follow Up

So now the person knows what is expected of them and how their work will be measured. The last piece is to confirm how, and how often you will review their performance. “Let’s meet every week or month for 30 months to see how you are getting on”.


  1. Stick to the Above!

The above 3 steps are very simple. Here comes the part where most managers fall down. You must stick to it! If follow up is arranged for every Tuesday at 2pm, DO NOT CANCEL OR REARRANGE THIS as the other person will think you are not interesting nor taking this seriously. If you don’t turn up or bother, they will know you don’t care and then they will stop caring.


  1. Praise and Acknowledge

I know I don’t have to say this but never take credit for anyone else’s work. Shine a light on the good work of your team. Saying “well done” and “thank-you” are powerful words in work. Become known for building successful teams. It’s a rarity in business.


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