7 Pieces of Unique People Management Advice from Experts

People Management Advice

Tech giants in Silicon Valley do not have a good reputation when it comes to people management, as such, they are probably not the best examples to look to for advice. Netflix, however, is bucking those trends and setting a standard for others to follow, especially when it comes to people management. To make this crystal clear, Netflix uses words from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on their website.

‘If you want to build a ship, do not drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.’

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings shared his vision and approach for hiring and retaining the best talent in this presentation, which has been viewed more than 5 million times.

Here are some of the key highlights which show what Netflix expects from their employees.

  • Values
  • Highly aligned, loosely coupled
  • Performance
  • Freedom and responsibility
  • Employee development and promotion

If you want to efficiently manage people as Netflix does, then you have to look beyond traditional wisdom.

In this article, you will discover seven unusual pieces of people management advice from experts that work.

1. Learn to Stand Your Ground

You might be taught in school to compromise to avoid conflict and tension. But, if you want to manage people effectively, you should be ready to hold your ground. While sharing his experience, Christian Lanng, CEO of Tradeshift said, ‘I have learned that compromise is not always the best strategy’. He wants managers to stand their ground and not be afraid to disagree with anyone.

Speak what’s in your heart and mind even if there is a risk of conflict or tension because big changes come due to conflict of ideas.

Businesswoman having difficult conversation with businessman
Conflict resolution involves standing your ground and not avoiding conflict

He suggests that you should adopt the same approach even when you are talking to a top-level executive or CEO of a company. Do not be stubborn, but that should not stop you from being frank and honest. When you adopt this approach, you will notice that not only do others take you more seriously, but they are also ready to challenge the status quo like you. This allows you to get to the truth much faster and your ideas will win.

2. Avoiding Confrontation Does Not Reduce Tensions

Most people would try their best to avoid confrontation. This is because most people do not like things that make us feel uncomfortable or lead to negative emotions. Believe it or not, when you try to avoid conflict with someone, this does not reduce tension, instead, it can increase it.

Sanjay Malhotra, Chief Technology Officer at Clearbridge Mobile shares, ‘I have learned throughout my career that issues that arise often could have been avoided had they just been dealt with sooner. Express your opinion and be heard instead of being afraid. This allows everyone to hear your ideas and the ideas and opinions of others.’ His advice for managers is to ‘Use conflict to improve the team to collaborate and work together to validate ideas so your team can achieve a common goal.’

3. Passion Can Beat Experience Occasionally

Traditional wisdom suggests that experience trumps passion every time. If you have the same mindset when hiring people, you will hire people with great CVs, which can backfire in some cases. Craig Williams, Chief Information Officer, Ciena considers three factors when hiring new talent:

  • Passion
  • Heart
  • Drive

Craig recommends, ‘Leaders should work on strengthening the technical basics but should also look to identify, develop and reward individuals who are driven, positive go-getters.’ Did you know why? Because these are the employees who inspire and uplift an organisation.

4. Distinguish Yourself from Others

According to a web design Dubai company evangelist, ‘Listening to feedback is important, but don’t change what makes you unique. Otherwise, you will end up like every other executive – polished, robotic, and corporate.’  Even if it does not make everyone happy, you should maintain your edge.

Do not worry if it hurts your reputation at your current organisation because it is temporary damage which will make you better professional in the long run.

5. Role-Playing Is Not Always the Best option

Every employee is different and has different characteristics. Some of them are extroverts, while others are introverts. If you try to implement approaches that work for extroverts, your introverted employees will not be happy. The simple advice is, there is no one size fits all formula when it comes to people management.

As Johnathan Fries, Vice President of Engineering and Digital Transformation at Exadel said, ‘Introverts do not learn well on stage, and expecting them to learn communication skills through role-playing is totally ineffective.’ His advice for managers, ‘It’s better to give them information and follow up in one-on-one sessions to see how they are doing with whatever technique you have shared with them.’

6. Respect Everyone

One of the most common pieces of advice you have received might be to respect your elders. Unfortunately, this advice is no longer relevant in today’s multi-generational workplace where three to four different generations might be working under one roof.

David Bird, Director at Online Mortgage Advisor raises the question, Why focus purely on respecting those older than yourself when young people in the workplace thrive when treated with the same level of respect as their colleagues? His advice for managers is to ‘Treat all your employees with the same level of respect. This will create room for self-ownership and collaboration.’

7. Think Before Your Reply

The pace at which businesses move these days forces them to adopt rapid communication which puts more emphasis on action instead of tone. This can unintentionally lead to a negative tone during communication, which can also hurt employee feelings. To overcome this issue, Chief Operating Officer of Babel Street, Eric Bowen thinks that you should, ‘Put a little more time to optimise a message for the recipient to establish a positive rapport that may ease future communications.’

Which is the best advice you have ever received for people management? Share it with us in the comments section below.


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