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What is a People Manager?

People managers have a more specialized role in companies.  They are tasked with working directly with employees to assist them in their career growth. As businesses have evolved and transformed through the 20th and 21st centuries, the role of a manager has morphed and become more focused as-well.  Not only are managers central to the completion of their team’s core responsibilities, but they must juggle the human aspect of their respective employees. 

The question of what a people manager is, is a little bit more complex to answer, but can be closely defined as a manager more focused on the management of their individual employees and their growth within the company and their careers. A people manager may not be solely focused on employee management and growth but can have that responsibility as one of their central tenants to their own job.

So, what’s the point of a people manager?

And that’s an excellent question. 

The thing is, as industries have grown more complex and globalization has increased within the past twenty years, many companies found that employees were key to their own growth. If the company could, in some way, increase an individual employees’ productivity, loyalty, and participation, then they would reap those benefits over the long term. However, central to increasing an individual employees’ productivity is a manager who can work directly with them.  This manager needs to be extremely versatile as no two employees are alike.

The people manager must be versatile, understanding, tough when needed, yet rewarding and optimistic.  They must be transparent on goals and career trajectory and must be an advocate for the employee. Having these qualities builds loyalty, almost extreme loyalty wherein employees will volunteer for additional work just to impress their manager. 

People managers must also be great leaders.  They must inspire their teams no matter the situation.

What’s in it for the company?

The company needs highly qualified, highly skilled, loyal employees who are going to make a lasting impact.  By having people managers, who can maneuver corporate environments and lift their employees, they can sustain both incoming workloads and future endeavors.

Are there any pitfalls?

And that’s the question many companies fail to ask themselves and that I have snuck around.  The employees, it turns out, aren’t loyal to the company but to the manager. A perfect people manager will be able to get the productivity and enthusiasm out of their team, but the team isn’t going to greater lengths for a company they may not feel truly understands them.

Rather, they will provide the productivity, the enthusiasm, and the loyalty to the manager. So, a company needs to be extremely careful with their managers.  They need to provide them with the resources and tools they need to succeed, but even more important, they need to listen to their managers.

If they listen to their managers and take into account their recommendations and needs, they will have a top-down level of loyalty which can sustain a company for years to come.

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