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How to Manage People Effectively: A Primer

A quick guide to managing people effectively, breaking the process down into the leadership and talent management components.

Many clients come to me with a very simple question: How do I manage my team? Be it in a small 5-person startup, be it in a corporate finance 30-people office, across different cultures and circumstances, leadership and talent management principles are the same. Usually, the question in how to manage people effectively can always be broken down into two key components:

  1. Leadership (leading, motivating, inspiring your people);
  2. Talent Management (the governance of managing your people – meetings, assessment, etc);

Let’s examine each of the two in detail:

Leadership

Leadership comes in many shapes and forms. It might transactional or transformational, wartime or peace, long-term or short-term, and it’s very tightly connected to your corporate culture and values. Some assessment frameworks for leadership, both mine and external, include:

  • Applying an influence framework (such as my Kingmaker Influence framework) helps you erode convictions, elicit compliance and destroy objections, helping you lead and persuade more effectively;
  • Values/Virtues/Cultural Alignment (using a tool like my Cultural Cascading framework, being clear on what the values/virtues of your team are and how many of them the employee embodies helps clarify who will take the right actions);
  • The Leadership Polarization Profile (this is a proprietary tool I’ve developed to analyze leaders across multiple spectrums such as contrarian versus consensual, relationship- versus task- oriented, and many more, helping you determine what you value in your leadership);
  • Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson’s vintage yet excellent Alpha Male Leadership Style (whether you are a Commander, Visionary, Strategist or Executor, all of them have strengths and weaknesses);

Talent Management

The actual governance of your talent management operations is the second half. You can be an excellent leader and know how to manage people properly, but if you can’t structure meetings, properly give feedback and know what to do with your people, you’re screwed.

I use my custom TAGG model with talent manager executives. It splits the mechanics of talent management into four core areas:

  • Teamwork (making performance results team-based, inclusion of 360º feedback);
  • Assessment (defining correct assessment criteria for talent, providing structured feedback);
  • Growth (promoting growth plans for skill acquisition, team feedback for growth and sessions to unblock stuck team members);
  • Governance (meeting structuring and scheduling);

Conclusion

The question of how to manage people effectively usually always comes down to one of two aspects: leadership and actual talent management. While leadership has mostly to do with the actual leader as a person, talent management usually covers the mechanics of managing, guiding and assessing people. A good manager of people should be able to do both.

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