Leadership and People: A 6-Step Guide to Enhancing People Management Skills
By Arijit Banerjee
What is the perfect recipe for building an organisation that is capable of constantly innovating while enduring change? Even a few years ago, the answer would have been – building a team with requisite technical and work experience. But today’s business climate demands collaborative working and multidisciplinary project teams, making human capital the lynchpin of business success. This is putting relentless pressure on HR to leverage leaders and managers with superior people management skills – not just technical expertise.
Here is a six-step guide for leaders and managers to enhance people management skills and effectively lead their teams:
Make personal relationship building with team members a priority: At InterContinental Hotels Group, every employee celebrating their birthday is invited for coffee and cake with the General Manager (GM). Such initiatives help build effective inter-personal relationship with team members. As a leader, treating employees with respect, trust and attentiveness, even in the most challenging business situations, is critical to boosting employee careers, enhancing productivity and driving growth.
Recognise employees consistently and often: Routinely recognise employees for their contribution to a positive, productive and innovative organisational culture. For instance, Marriot Hotels India ensures that employees who are appreciated by the guests are recognised through a ‘daily packet’ and thank you note from the Marketing Vice President. If you want to foster and reinforce certain practices, approaches and behaviours in your organisation, employee recognition is sure fire way to emphasise the sought-after qualities.
Partner with training and ed-tech institutions to upskill employees: As businesses evolve at warp speed in today’s digital environment, on-going training and up-skilling of the workforce is critical to encouraging creativity and enhancing workforce engagement. This is why Hyatt Hotels collaborated with the Stanford University School of Design to bring in a design-centred approach to all areas of its business. Leveraging on-the-job learning helps employee develop greater understanding of their responsibilities within their role and build their confidence. This, in turn, drives improved employee satisfaction and reduced churn.
Understand the challenges employees face in the organisation: Indus Towers conducts Dilemma Workshops to understand challenges employees face while living the organisational values. The reason: when employees interact productively with the manager and work together to analyse the root cause of problems, they achieve higher job satisfaction. This not only helps enhance work performance and build effective teams, but also drives business value.
Offer support beyond technical expertise in solving business challenges: Godrej consumer products has taken a learning café initiative to help senior leadership connect with young employees. Such informal one-to-one settings that go beyond job-specific support help employees come forth with their comments, suggestions and concerns. This is crucial to addressing on-going issues and providing productive, remedial solutions to business challenges.
Make feedback gathering a communal exercise: One way to gather continuous feedback is to develop open communication lines with the employees. This not only makes employees feel empowered but also helps them realise that their opinion is critical to the company’s success. Take the case of Mahindra & Mahindra Automotive & Farm Equipment. The company’s Khula Manch initiative provides a platform for 6000 employees to express their ideas and get their grievances resolved.
Increasingly, businesses consider a good leader as someone who can bring people together and align them with business objectives, by building a positive environment for collaboration and engagement. This involves managing people in a way that makes them feel unique and a valued part of the company. Practicing open and reciprocal communication with employees and using their ideas to further the organisation’s business objective are great ways to bolster employee efficiency and loyalty in today’s dynamic business environment.