People Management: Demystifying a Complicated Recipe

I think it’s fair to say, that in relative terms, people management is having a moment. Heck, even Silicon Valley is taking notice. It’s quite common to hear the phrase, “war for talent” inside of today’s organizations. An offshoot of this “war” is that once an organization feels they have hired a talented person, their focus shifts to keeping them. In an effort to retain talented employees (i.e., don’t leave us for a competitor!), organizations are expending greater effort to ensure they are an attractive place to work. This includes tangible benefits like ping pong tables, onsite gyms, and yoga classes. It also includes having solid people managers. It’s a complicated recipe, but having a strong crop of people managers is likely to enhance engagement, strengthen development, and promote retention (e.g., four of the six retention best practices involve people managers).

One of the biggest challenges is that becoming a strong people manager can be difficult. This is why companies spend millions of dollars annually on leadership development programs. For some it may come naturally, for others it feels like being in a foreign land. Humans are an enigmatic species, and managing that…well, it’s probably one of the most difficult things people will do throughout their careers.

What do I like to do when things get complicated? Keep it as simple as I can. We recently conducted a study on what behaviors predict success within the competency of people management and discovered six behaviors are core ingredients to this complicated recipe, available here.

Lastly, while Silicon Valley may be only just starting to take notice to people management, we’ve been paying attention for a little longer…check out our take on software for leadership development.

About the author

Drew is MRG's resident I/O psychologist. When not at MRG, he's either with his family (most likely) or in his workshop (less likely). His stack of unread books is commendable.

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