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Your employees are the biggest asset you have. Their performance and attitude can result in the success or failure of your business. The most difficult part of any manager's job is people management. He or she is required to lead, motivate, train, inspire, and encourage. On the other hand, he or she is also responsible for hiring, firing, disciplining, training and evaluating. These functions seem to be at odds, but a successful manager can integrate both the positive and negative aspects of these tasks to create a positive, productive work force.

People management, also known as human resource management (HRM), encompasses the tasks of recruitment, management, and providing ongoing support and direction for the employees of an organization. These tasks can include the following: compensation, hiring, performance management, organization development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training.

When managing the people within an organization, a manager must focus on both hiring the right people and then getting the most out of these people. New personnel must provide the organization with the best talent available that meets the needs of the business. The organization must look ahead to how a new employee can be used to their fullest. Getting the most out of an employee means a business has consistent policies and practices in place to provide its people with appropriate training and development. Employees are involved as "partners" in the business.

Probably the most important task a manager will face when dealing with the people under his direction is that of bringing out the best in them. Unlocking people potential is often seen as the key to any business's success. When an employee's talents are not channeled correctly, their behavior can seriously compromise the success of an organization. Some of the roles that an employee who is not being used to his potential can take on are as follows: procrastinator, martyr, gossip, manipulator, backstabber, narcissist, a deer in the headlights, black hole, stonewalled, curmudgeon, bully, and predator.

Instead of dealing with employees that develop defense mechanisms to mask their dissatisfaction with their work situation, let's look as some ways to encourage effective behavior at work. After a problem behavior has been identified, address the employee immediately. Discuss taking responsibility for the ineffective behavior, how the behavior manifests itself, and the effect the behavior is having on the organization. Next, give the employee alternatives to his current behavior. In other words, teach him or her how the principles of achievement:

* cooperation * respect * self-motivation * trust * self-discipline
Now that the employee has alternatives to their current behavior, draw up a performance improvement contract in which he or she agrees to specific actions to change his or her ineffective behavior. After the contract is signed, a manager needs to stay involved and committed to the process of change. He or she cannot assume that the problem will be automatically fixed now that it has been brought to light. The employee will require praise and reinforcement of any progress that they are able to make. If positive change is to occur, it will be evident soon after the initial confrontation. If this does not occur, a termination meeting must be scheduled quickly. One employee's toxic behavior can quickly spread throughout an organization if it is not dealt with quickly and efficiently.

When evaluating an organization's workforce, there are several areas that must be addressed. First, the staff must have the tools and resources that they need to do their jobs effectively. Employees cannot be blamed for an organization's inefficiency if they are not provided with the equipment necessary to perform adequately. Next, get to know each employee as an individual and make sure that they are aware of their specific role within the organization. Clarify their responsibilities and goals. Also, involve each employee in making decisions which affect their area of expertise. This will result in the employee feeling that they "have a say" in what goes on in the organization and he or she will feel a sense of ownership. Finally, make sure that employees have an opportunity to have fun with their coworkers at appropriate times.

People Empowerment can be a very effective tool within the field of people management. This technique can be used to involve employees in any improvement program within an organization. Authority, accountability, and responsibility are delegated to the employees for improving the processes which are under their control without first having to obtain permission from management before making changes. This can be successful only when employees are recognized, congratulated, and rewarded for their commitment to problem solving.

About the author:

Sean McPheat provides UK management training to small, medium and large businesses. Sean designs and delivers bespoke management training coursesacross the UK, Europe, US and the Middle East.


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