Basic Management Skills: Mastering People Management

At some point all entrepreneurs need to learn some basic management skills since growing businesses rely on team effort.

Basic management skills become more important the more employees you have - when you have 2-3 people working together the team is small enough not to need formal systems. Add 10 people and the business can become chaotic without someone controlling the team's activities.

Managing people is one of the most common problem areas for business owners and often comes up during coaching sessions.

While most business coaches will be used to coaching in this area, some will obviously be better than others. If you know that you want your business coach to help you develop management skills, choose one that has expertise in this particular area.

The top 5 basic management skills:

1. Anticipating & Planning

When you have a large team of people you can't afford to always be reactive to circumstances, you will need to consciously anticipate tasks and workloads for your team and plan team goals accordingly.

Sudden changes of direction can cause problems with any team but especially the bigger they are. Imagine how much planning and effort is required to turn a cruise liner around vs. a yacht.

2. Prioritizing & Decision-Making

As the business owner you are the guardian of the business vision and it is therefore part of your role to keep the team on track towards achieving your vision by prioritizing the teams tasks.

Good judgment and decision-making skills also come in to play here - make sure your team are always working on projects that will yield results. When you hire more people it can be tempting to get people working on smaller, less urgent jobs that you never had time for before but ask yourself if it meets the 80/20 rule?

3. Communicating

Many business owners neglect formal communication with their employees - especially in the early growth stages. When you have less than five employees it's easy to keep everyone in the loop but when you suddenly have 20 people working in your business you need to start formalizing your communication with regular meetings etc.

4. Systemizing

You can help your team be more productive by getting in to the habit of making your business more efficient. Systemize as much as you possibly can. Simplify work processes, set standards for making sure work done by your employees is high quality and continually look for ways to improve and innovate what you do.

Some of the systems you might implement include:

  • Having clear policies and procedures (but keep them to a minimum)
  • Having up to date job descriptions
  • Have an induction program for new employees
  • Having weekly status meetings with team members
  • Have a method to monitor output and incorporate learnings

5. Team Building

Team building techniques play a critical part in business growth. This is probably the most important of these basic management skills to master.

Start by placing people in roles that make the most of each persons strengths and then look for ways to give them responsibility. Great teams thrive on challenges.

Invest time each week on coaching or training your team members. It improves motivation and morale and benefits your business.

A part of this process also involves doing regular performance appraisals with team members where you openly discuss your expectations and what they can do to improve. Most employees want to feel that they are on a path of progression so have a career development plan in mind for each person.

Business Coaching Questions:

  • In what ways could you improve your businesses systems to allow your team to be more efficient?
  • What else do your team need from you in order to be their best?
  • In what areas are you not managing the business so well?

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