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The art of people management

You’ve got your special socks to match the day of the week, you always save time for Sunday office lunch prep sessions, you sync your gym schedule to your smart phone and we’ve heard all about that spreadsheet you use to rate your craft beer collection.

You’re clearly a master at managing the important things in life so why would you be anything other than a don when it comes to people management too? Ok we know that when it comes down to it, beer and people are different, but with a small tweak or two, you can apply that same care and awareness to your team. They deserve to feel the love just as much as that coffee infused stout you tried back in January, don’t they?

Whether you’re new to this whole people management thing, or just feel like you need to swat up, we’ve pulled together our top dos and don’ts of management techniques to ease any remaining confusion about the differences between beer, socks and people…

See also: project management courses from the Learning People

DO: get to know your team really well

Whether you were involved at hiring stage or not, it’s well worth looking beyond someone’s CV for the hidden talents and all round awesomeness that they had forgotten to mention. You know the ‘oh and by the way I’m a ninja coding expert just for fun but didn’t think that was relevant for the job’. Ermm we love you!

There’s also that unexpected but massively underrated management technique of coaching on a personal level. No, you won’t be nipping down to your local DFS for a special office therapy sofa any time soon but do be prepared to occasionally need to wear your ‘confidante’ hat.

You know that time Helen was having a rough ride at home juggling a wild toddler and that wedding cake she promised her friend and it unintentionally impacted on her working day? When you know your team as the people they are, not just another face in the office, you’ll be able to spot cake drama a mile off and help chill things out before the buttercream drips all over your deadlines.


DON’T: smother them with too much love

Get to know them but don’t get all weird about it. Find the balance.

There’s an almighty creative, work-hard power that comes with having the space to breathe and your team will thank you for it with gold, frankincense and myrrh. No wait… golden ideas, constructive frank feedback and mirth. That’s the one!

Like timing your toast to optimum brownness just as your eggs are still perfectly runny, people management is a fine balancing act. You need to put some effort in to create the right relationship blend of professional encouragement, good friendly vibes and constructive goals to keep your soldiers crisp and your eggs all dippy like…

DO: empower your people!

Another perk of good people management and getting to know your team is being able to clock when key members are bored and would kill for a new challenge.

When there’s an unreasonable amount of ‘anyone fancy a cuppa?’ and the bins are full of the remnants of paper aeroplanes made from half completed Sudoku, you know it’s time to find out what’s up with your crew.

Set challenges and expectations unique to each member of the team. Think challenge, not overwhelm, and realistic goals rather than frazzled deadline hitting. And hey, if it’s the whole work thing in general that they are struggling with you could always encourage some professional development training to tickle their cerebrum.

There are so many online courses which will get them feeling passionate again all whilst making them better at their jobs.

See also: online courses from the Learning People

DO: be a bit of a legend

Have you heard about leading by example as one of the simplest management techniques in ‘the book’?

No? Well we’ve read pretty much every management bible in existence so you don’t have to, but FYI, alongside the dreaded industry buzzwords like ‘innovative’ and ‘blue-sky thinking’ there’s also relatable ideas like honesty, collaboration and trust. We promise.

Look, when it comes down to it no one wants to see you swanning into the office late, shades on, macchiato in hand, bragging about your weekend activities and wafting strong vibes of ‘I’m not doing any work today suckers’.

And trust us, you may be the captain but these sailors will all want to throw you overboard if you act like that. Or worse, Jack will be taking extended lunch breaks, Rachel will up her work-time ebay browsing, and don’t get us started on Lucy who has roped in half the office and 100% of your stationery cupboard to build a giant octopus for her son’s school project. Now who’s the sucker!

Lead by example and we guarantee that your team will follow you, be happier in their jobs and produce better work because of it. And better octopuses.

Like we said, good vibes only!