People Management Skills Definition & Glossary of Terms

MBM Glossaries: People Management Skills Definition

This glossary contains our People Management Skills definition and, in particular, a list of terms frequently used in the topic People Management Skills. Meanwhile, for a comprehensive guide to all things People Management, check out our free Ultimate Guide to People Management Skills.

Active Listening

A type of listening where all the senses are engaged. In particular, the listener strives to fully understand what is being communicated to be able to remember and respond to the message.


Things of value that a business owns. For example, in People Management, workforce is considered an invaluable asset to a company.

Attrition Rate

The rate by which the company’s workforce is reduced by things such as resignations, terminations, retirements, and other means of losing employees. Usually, a high attrition rate is highly influenced by poor management practices such as micromanagement.


A psychological technique that is similar to the placebo effect. In particular, it trains the mind to adapt to a certain behaviour using self-hypnosis.

Broken Communication

When there is a disconnect in communication between two parties and, as a result, misunderstanding arises.


This is a hierarchy-based organisation that has a chain of command and specified roles and systemic processes.


Business-to-Business, where companies providing services or good directly to other businesses.

Bottom Line

The total amount that the business owes or has earned after all expenses.


The ability of an individual to attract, influence, and inspire others.


The personality of an individual is based on the totality of that person’s values and behaviour.

Closed Questions

Closed Questions or Close-Ended Questions are answerable by a single word. Usually, yes or no.


Concern and sympathy for the misfortunes of others.


The certainty an individual has when he or she understand who he or she is. Also, what they can bring to the table.

Conflict Strategy

A conflict resolution strategy that a manager puts into place to allow for swift conflict resolution. In particular, it aims to understand the problem and the individuals involved to achieve a mutually agreeable outcome better.


Translating messages and understanding what is meant to be communicated. Usually, both spoken and unspoken.


Removing and organisation’s layers of hierarchy

Eisenhower Principle

The Eisenhower’s Important, also Urgent Principle, is a way of prioritising activities. In fact, taken from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s speech in 1954, the principle creates a distinction between important activities that will eventually lead to the completion of a person’s goals and urgent activities that require immediate attention and bear consequences if not dealt with immediately.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI), or sometimes referred to as Emotional Quotient (EQ), is the ability to understand and manage an individual’s emotions and the emotions of others.


Enabling an individual to think and act for himself or herself autonomously independently.

Employee Turnover Cost

The losses a company incurs when an employee leaves the company for whatever reason. In fact, a report by Oxford Economics revealed that the turnover cost for every employee averages around £30,614. In particular, this includes the logistical cost of hiring new talent and, also, the cost of lost output while the replacement talent receives necessary training and orientation for the position.

Esprit de Corps

The collective morale, pride, and values of a group. Can also be referred to as Team Spirit


A collection of moral standards and acceptable conduct.


A focus on providing equality to employees or members instead of a hierarchy or class-based ranking.


Flawed arguments that do not follow the laws of logic.


Informal channels where information in an organisation travels. In particular, these channels are based on acquaintances and friends.


Introducing new hires in a company. In particular, familiarising them with the company culture.

‘Leaders Eat Last’

A book by Simon Sinek shows the need for leaders and managers to exhibit empathy.

Learning Curve

A visual representation of an employee or a team’s progress when learning a new skill or understanding a new concept. Meanwhile, a ‘steep’ learning curve is when the task at hand requires more effort to master or is more challenging to learn.

Management Iceberg

The Management Iceberg describes the art of managing an individual from addressing the items above the water, such as time, budgets, tasks, and results. And the more intricate workings underneath that deal with, in particular, feelings, motivation, and personalities. In fact, a good manager needs emotional intelligence to be able to manage the visible and submerged parts of the iceberg.

Motivation Theory

Studies by social scientists try to decode the workings behind what motivates a person and how that it can be harnessed to that person’s benefit. In particular, popular motivation theories include Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Hertzberg’s Two-Factor Theory, the Hawthorne Effect, and Incentive Theory.

The Change Management Iceberg

Also referred to as, or ‘Iceberg of Ignorance’, this follows the Management Iceberg symbolism of having more underlying mass than can be seen. In particular, it describes the possible barriers to change or achieving goals. Also, it emphasises how there is only a small part of potential problems or issues that are visible, and failure to address what underneath leads to failure.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

In 1943, Abraham Maslow proposed in his paper ‘A Theory of the Human Motivation’, a tier of human needs. In particular, Maslow theorised that humans need to first satisfy their basic needs before the next set of needs in the next tier. Meanwhile, in people management, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs helps managers to understand what an underlying cause of a performance issue could be, and how to motivate team members.


A management style where managers closely monitor subordinates. In micromanagement, a manager maintains excessive control over small details, avoids delegation of tasks, and strips subordinates of their ability to make decisions in a particular task. Indeed, this type of management is often restricting and causes a decline in team morale and employee motivation.

Motivational Theories

Studies attempting to understand and explain the reasoning behind what motivates people.

Mutually Agreeable Outcome

When one or two parties negotiate to reach an outcome that is mutually acceptable for all.


Favouritism towards family relatives in a position of authority.


The process of getting a new hire up to speed to the company and the employee’s role.

Open Communication

Transparency between managers and their team members where every member can communicate freely in an open, two-way conversation.

Open Questions

Open Questions or Open-Ended Questions are queries that seek full, meaningful answers.

People Management Skills

The ability to create and foster relationships with people. In the workplace, having these skills means being able to form relationships with colleagues and subordinates. For employees in a managerial position, it involves giving the team the proper motivation, staying on track with projects, knowing the needs of every individual member of the team, and how they can help satisfy those needs and reach goals.

Responsible Delegation

Good people management skills help a manager make proper decisions in delegating tasks. In particular, responsible delegation includes matching the skill requirements of a task to a team member’s skills and providing clear instructions and realistic goals.


The ability to keep and earn the loyalty of an employee or a partner.


Return on Investment is the time it takes for a business to reap profit from their investment in recruiting, interviewing, employee onboarding, compensation, and training before an employee is functioning to his or her best performance.


A psychology theory first introduced by Kurt Goldstein. In particular, it describes the motivations behind an individual wanting to realise his or her fullest potential.

Situational Leadership

A leadership model by Ken Blanchard, co-author of the One Minute Manager. In short, situational leadership assesses the unique needs of employees and uses a different leadership style to address the needs of their team.

Social Learning

A learning theory by Albert Bandura. In short, it suggests that people absorb and acquire skills or knowledge through observing others.

Team Spirit

A willingness of team members to do their best for the team.

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

A book by Patrick Lencioni explores the 5 common dysfunctions that impair a team from excelling. It includes the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.

Work Culture

The kind of environment a workplace provides for employees. It is influenced by the beliefs, attitudes, and vision of the company and its members.

Work-life Balance

Achieving optimal quality of life by living a fulfilled life outside of work while satisfying career objectives.

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