The Psychology of Managing People in the Workplace
December 8 2020 - Whether it is in a professional context or a personal one, the management of people and relationships is crucial in networking, forming connections, getting along with others, and achieving goals. Whilst psychology is often associated with a personís self management, personal goals and a more inward view of the self, the role it plays in relationships with coworkers is often overlooked.
A People First Approach to Management in the Workplace
When it comes to management of people in the workplace, being successful will involve achieving results with a people focused approach, as opposed to one that focuses purely on on-paper efficiency, goals and outcomes.
While success will be largely correlated to foundational human resource management knowledge (that professionals will develop through courses such as this Monarch HR course), the approach that you take beyond this education is what will determine your personal management style and the type of impact you have.
Beyond a formal education, management will substantially come down to the focus you give to individual employees - consider their goals, the structure and environment in which they succeed, the level of accountability to hold them to, and the resources they require. Rather than fitting and holding employees to a structure that works on paper, first basing your management decisions on individual skill sets and personalities will allow you to take an approach that sees higher productivity and job satisfaction across all employees. This is a huge factor in achieving ongoing consistency and results, as opposed to a company culture of mediocrity and achievement of the bare minimum.
Managing Personal Relationships at Work
As opposed to the management of people with a relationship that is predominantly professional, personal relationship management at work requires a very different approach. Above all, personal relationships within the workplace can lead to rises in conflict of interest. In managing these conflicts, the appropriate path to resolution might involve less formal structure - instead, relationships and conflict resolution will often require honesty, acknowledgement and communication.
In avoiding conflicts in the first place, a responsible and proactive approach is crucial. This is true whether you are a HR manager or an employee - maintaining separation of personal and work life, anticipating and navigating potential conflicts before they arise, and enlisting the help of an impartial and reasonable third party are all examples of responsible proactive and reactive behaviour that will minimise the impact of personal conflicts within the workplace.
The problematic nature of personal relationships in a professional context can worsen when other employees, clients and customers are in any way impacted - this is true whether their view of the workplace, decision making, productivity or mental health is affected. Furthermore, those with personal relationships should avoid managing performance and professional problems of their personal friends - instead, allocating these responsibilities to an impartial party will ensure no problems arise. Finally, a healthy workplace will require that uninvolved employees are left that way - getting employees to take sides in personal affairs will often lead to further unresolved conflict.
Ultimately, whilst there is nothing wrong with having personal relationships in the workplace. With this in mind, ensuring that a proactive approach is taken where the relevant managers and third parties are aware will minimise any conflicts and problems that otherwise would not have occurred.
Approaching Difficult Management Cases With Empathy and Patience
Despite the nature of advice and knowledge that industry experts and educational programs will teach you, employee management in practice is often messy and difficult, rather than structured and predictable.
If rather than being in a position of management, you are on the receiving end of a difficult comment, the right approach will depend on the situation at hand. However, while you should stand up for yourself, ensure that you never escalate the problem - instead, ignore it, or respond with a question or counter if you think you have a good one.
If you are in a managerial position, dealing with difficult or toxic employees also requires some planning. This is an important task as these employees have the potential to impact co-workers. In approaching the management of a difficult employee, be sure to consider their situation, provide them with direct feedback, and make the repercussions clear. Throughout the entire process, documentation is key in having yourself covered legally.
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