31 One-Sentence People Management Tips to be a Great Manager

We’ve All Seen the Phrase:

‘People don’t leave their jobs, they leave their boss’.

Managing people is hard. They all have their own needs and wants, and being a great people manager is often the hardest part of the job, so these people management tips will help:

Female manager with laptop computer stood in doorway

Tips 1-10

  • 1. The difference between people management and leadership is that the leader chooses which hill to take and the people manager enables their team to take the hill (Army analogy).


  • 2. ‘Managing with Carrots’ is a great book and essentially concludes that we need to match the praise to the task, so if someone has done something special that has taken a lot of time, skill and energy, then the reward can not be ‘Thanks’ on email but must be matched with ‘higher’ praise.


  • 3. We’ve all worked for bad bossed and good bosses, and we need to self-check that we are doing more of what the latter did, and less of what the former did.


  • 4. Most people don’t mind the decision as long as they have their say.


  • 5. People will make mistakes – don’t let their ‘telling off’ be their biggest memory of you.


  • 6. Little and often feedback is the key to NOT arriving at a fight or flight situation where you need to ‘sort them out’.


  • 7. Praise more than criticise, and a lot more.


  • 8. Know how to delegate effectively and encourage them to ask questions and to summarise.


  • 9. Don’t delegate anything you would not be prepared to do yourself.


  • 10. Learn the importance of the ‘I’ in giving feedback using the SBI feedback model of Situation, Behaviour and Impact.

Manager talking to male employee across a desk

Tips 11-20

  • 11. Keep a shared list of actions and agenda points with each person, whether it is using one-note, shared notes, or similar.


  • 12. Make a decision, even if you later know it is wrong because no decision is a decision.


  • 13. Don’t measure people on the number of hours they work but on the results they deliver.



  • 15. Address conflicts not by email, or text, but by discussion.


  • 16. Go to Wikipedia and understand the ‘Peter Principle’ because it will explain why you feel like you do as a newly promoted people manager.


  • 17. Share what you are not good at doing and ask for help.


  • 18. Explore the trust model together and what needs to improve on both sides.


  • 19. Show that you are willing to learn new ways of working by doing things differently, like finishing on time, taking the afternoon off, or stopping doing something that has begun to add very little value.


  • 20. An appraisal/performance review should be a summary of previous conversations and not a meeting of surprises.

How to Win Friends & Influence People book cover

Tips 21-32

  • 21. Show humility by declaring a mistake you have made and what you have learnt.


  • 22. Don’t join the negative gossip.


  • 23. Arrange regular check-ins with your people with effective 121’s.


  • 24. Find out about Google’s Project Oxygen and the importance of coaching.


  • 25. It matters what you say at the water cooler, for example, ‘I thought the training course was waste of time’ gives the employee instant ‘permission’ to ignore everything they just learnt.


  • 27. Know that most great people managers are simply described as ‘great communicators by being good listeners.’



  • 29. Read the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard.


  • 30. Know the Situational Leadership model.


  • 31. As a manager, you’ll want to get to know your team and build trust, see our guide to building trust.


So there you have it, 32 one-sentence people management tips that are an excellent first step to becoming a great people manager.

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