You did it! You landed a great job as a manager and have a team under you to direct and grow. But it’s crucial for you to keep gaining and developing the skills you need to create great employees.
From navigating employee schedules to planning offsite meetings, a manager’s day is filled with a huge variety of tasks. You find yourself pulled in all directions, and prioritizing tasks is important. The most important task, though, is being mindful of how you interact with your employees.
The Human Resources department can get a bad rap. But you can benefit as a manager from their guidance and advice. Here are 5 critical HR skills every manager should know.
How to negotiate
Negotiating is an important skill for any leader and manager. Not only is it necessary to negotiate regarding compensation, but it’s also important in non-monetary issues. Employees and managers commonly don’t see eye to eye, and knowing how to negotiate will help you bridge that gap.
Negotiating is a process of compromising. The key to negotiation is eliminating emotion. Remember that as a manager, you were once that employee on the other side of that table. Understand your employee’s points and perspectives. Make sure you have carefully thought out counterpoints. Work together to come to an agreement that is fair and leaves everyone involved feeling heard.
Money is a touchy subject. And most employees feel like they are worth more than they are being compensated for. Having those tough conversations around salaries requires tact and facts. Explaining why your employee’s salary is where it is and how they can work to increase it will be helpful to both sides.
Whether it be vacation time or base salary, workers are performing their jobs with the long term goal of receiving more benefits. Try to view your relationship with employees as mutually working toward a common goal. Let them know that while you may not be able to get the extra vacation or added bonus they want now, you will help them work towards earning it.
Dealing with conflicts
When spending so much time together, personality conflicts and disagreements are bound to happen. Conflicts between employees can be awkward and downright ugly. Remaining a neutral party will help managers mediate these conflicts. It can be tough, but in the war of co-workers, it’s essential to play Switzerland.
The best approach to conflicts is to nip them in the bud when they first come to your attention. You don’t want animosity coming to a boil in a big scene at the company Christmas party. Bring both parties together to figure out the root of the problem. Make sure both employees know that you are unbiased and working to create a strong work culture for everyone.
A good manager will take steps to address and hopefully solve conflict before it escalates. It’s important to keep HR in the loop as appropriate. Focus on the facts and company policies to remain professional. Lean on your HR specialist for guidance if you need help.
Providing constructive feedback
Feedback is one of the most helpful things a manager can provide to their employees. Good feedback can foster trust and better performance. But not being constructive in feedback can result in a bitter employee.
Being consistent in how feedback is delivered is helpful. It’s important not to make an employee feel caught off guard with negative feedback. Ongoing feedback makes sure workers know where they stand. Including positive feedback helps to soften the blow of a bad review.
Positive feedback is just as important as negative, if not more. Keep in mind that many employees are as eager to please as they are to earn. Letting them know when they are doing a great job can go a long way in enforcing expectations.
Asking for feedback from your employees lets them know that you care about their satisfaction at work. How do they feel you are performing as a manager? Requesting their input makes them feel heard and will help you grow as a leader.
A good, employee-centric manager will focus on developing their people. This is not only good for the worker, but for the greater good of the company. HR loves seeing promotion from within. Developing employees for higher roles makes this possible.
Employees are happy when they see themselves advancing and growing. Helping them understand and realize their goals is helpful to them and the company. Keeping future goals in mind makes for more efficient, more driven employees.
Show employees that you are invested in their growth. Make sure they understand that you are on this journey with them and are pulling for them to succeed. Work alongside them to develop the tools they need to grow. Successful employees are a reflection of strong management.
You know what they say about all work and no play. With the amount of time your team spends at work, it’s important to throw a little fun in. Team building can create a healthier culture and reduce the likelihood of workplace conflicts. Preventing burn out leads to employees that work more efficiently.
Many managers make the workplace competitive and fun through contests and rewards. Even simple acts like an email of praise or a shout out in a newsletter can make employees feel important. Every individual is different in how they like to be appreciated. It’s your task to find what works for your employees and your team.
Gatherings, like potlucks and workplace lunches, set the tone for an enjoyable work environment. Meeting for happy hour after a long week can help workers feel a sense of togetherness. These morale boosters go a long way in building a more cooperative team. Be mindful that everyone is included so your efforts don’t backfire.
Following guidelines, policies, and being a proactive manager will certainly win you points with HR. Make sure to use and benefit from their guidance and expertise. When you partner with HR and use your skills as a manager, everyone wins!