Why People Fail As Managers And What HR Should Do To Lift Them Up: People Skills

Before Managers are promoted, they are used to having limited tasks on their plate. They have bosses who tell them what to do. Even in a team, work is pre-divided where everybody follows instructions. In case of disagreements with your peers, the boss easily sorts them with timely intervention.

But when people become the boss themselves, they realize how difficult it is to keep all your employees equally motivated. Once an employee becomes a Manager, people no longer open themselves up to him like they used to. Some employees may even start ‘sucking up’ to the Manager without him even knowing it. This, in turn, leads to discontent among other employees.

Managers don’t know what people skills they lack

A Manager who was really straightforward didn’t realize that not everybody could take negative feedback in the brutal fashion that he used to dole it out in. This led to a lot of friction, office gossip and jokes behind his back. So much so that even his bosses got wind of it. Unfortunately, no subordinate or superior ever gave him direct feedback. This led to low employee morale in his team, high attrition rates and lower productivity.

A lot of Managers have never been trained to deal with people – how to motivate them, how to push them when they’re low and how to keep them running when they’re in the right direction. Additionally, many Managers cannot read signs such as body language and other non-verbal communication. Thus, they don’t realize that the relationship between them and their co-workers may be souring.

What should HR do to lift them up?

Feedback mechanisms should be in place to achieve 360 degree feedback. How co-workers feel about Managers’ interpersonal skills should be collated across various parameters such as feedback giving skills, body language, listening skills, appreciation skills, etc. Some organizations even appreciate and encourage Managers who employees feel comfortable to approach when they have personal problems.

HR should train Managers on how to give feedback. Managers should understand the importance of positive reinforcement even while communicating unsavory news. Other soft skills on areas such as verbal and non-verbal communication, the art of listening effectively, the way to treat your team in front of clients, etc. should also be imparted.

Encourage Managers’ bosses to talk to clients regularly to gain insights on how they judge his interpersonal skills. Many Managers think they have been communicating to their clients effectively, but can do better. Not only can this information help the Manager, but your organization’s business and sales too.

For higher management, HR should tie up with management coaches and mentors who provide highly effective, customized programs that span across a few weeks up to a year. These coaches guide Managers to excel in their professional lives. They provide methods and tips on improving interpersonal skills that are based on their own experiences, which are usually very vast.

How a Manager communicates decides the acceleration of his career path and your organization’s productivity and customer satisfaction quotient. With these few programs, HR can directly impact an organization’s well being.