Recently I was asked what the key criteria I use to evaluate good people manager? This is not an easy question to answer to say the least. It takes a lot to be a good people manager, years of learnings and practices for sure. Also I am no expert on the topic so any comments/feedback are welcome.
As I looked back over the years with the countless mistakes, my short answer is “at the fundamental level, if your team doesn’t trust, respect or have confidence in you, then you are not yet a good people manager.”
Why you may ask? Well I guess it is because to me trust, respect and confidence are the basics of any human relationship. If you don’t have them, you actually don’t have a good relationship in the first place. This sounds simple but you would be surprised how hard it is to actually Earn the trust, respect and confidence of your team members.
Yup, you have to Earn it,
It doesn’t come automatically with title or seniority. It comes through showing that you care, keeping your promises, being a helpful coach, being fair and constructive etc… If you team feels that you say one thing to them and another thing to your boss, you would automatically lose their trust and respect. If you don’t stand up for them, for what you believe in, if you are too afraid of your boss, you would lose their respect. If they don’t look up to you, don’t think they could learn from you, you don’t have your team confidence.
If you ignore your team for a long time and just come to them whenever you need something done, again they would not trust or respect you. On the opposite side, if you talk to them regularly (having weekly 121 meetings) but nothing is done or they don’t feel that they are heard, or receive guidance from you, it’s not going to work either.
So how do you know if you have trust, respect and confidence of your team members? This answer would frustrate you but well you just know if you are being honest to yourself. Another easier sign is when your team member no longer opens up to you, to discuss with you about their issues, or when they start to reach out to other managers. When you know something is wrong via the grapevine but your team says everything is fine when asked.
Do I need to be a good people manager to be successful in my career or my life?
Well I don’t have the answer to that question or rather I would say, I have seen and read enough about people who are terrible at people management, yet having a very successful career/life so I guess you don’t have to if you don’t want to. But if you do want to be good at people management, it may take years for you to learn it. People management is a specialty, just like learning to code, learn to run a marketing campaign, learn to be a doctor, lawyer etc… The first and fundamental step is a burning desire, “ a deep, driving desire to learn, a vigorous determination to increase your ability to deal with people” (Dale Carnegie – “How to win friends and influence people”)
Thanks for reading my “raw” thought and I wont bore you more 🙂
Have a great weekend everyone,