People Management

March 23, 2020

Introduction to People Management

Sustainable and predictable business results are achieved by business leaders who structure an inspirational business strategy that outcompetes, constructs a finance strategy to fuel the growth, and employs an aligned people strategy. People management is the lifeblood necessary for business leaders to optimize their people strategy by overcoming top business challenges of hiring the right people, keeping the good people, and minimizing leadership gaps.

PeopleSurge provides people management software solutions, management training workshops, and strategic advisory services for organizations to optimize their people strategy to achieve predictable business results.

What makes successful people management achieve predictable results? The answer lies in developing levels of awareness, fostering insight systems, and building response-ability.

Know Thy Enemy…Know Thy Self

Socrates and other philosophers have echoed the importance of “know thyself” for generations. Sun Tzu proclaimed that to “know yourself and know your enemy, in a hundred battles no defeat.” I view the enemy not only as the obvious enemy, but our personal weaknesses, our fears, lack of self-awareness, and blind spots. Leadership skills building is an ongoing requirement for CEOs and business leaders. Self-awareness is at the top of the leadership skills mountain to continue to refine and development. Check out Roy Baumeister’s discussion on Self Awareness.

If your competitors knew your weaknesses, fears, blind spots, how dangerous would that be to your survival? How would this impact your ability to compete? How does self-awareness improve your leadership effectiveness?

What are you doing as a leader to gain self-awareness, expose your blind spots, uncover your weaknesses and face your fears? What are you doing for your talent to minimize the weaknesses in the culture?

Do you have a peer board of advisors? Do seek out scientific assessments? Do you make strategic planning a dynamic process? Are all of your customers engaging your core competencies?

What are you doing for yourself personally? Do you have a confidential, unbiased environment to address your weaknesses, fears, and blind spots? The more time you spend on your personal awareness, the better leader you will become.

Leadership coaching and peer advisory boards are excellent tools for further developing self-awareness. The coach, through the coaching process, provides the pathway to face fears through inspirational inquiry. Peer advisory board provide a level of peer accountability that encourages and fosters self awareness. The peer environment removes blindspots by opening up varying perspectives and challenges our biases in our decision making. With the development of self-awareness we lay the foundation for refining our situational awareness. Until self-awareness is effective, our situational awareness will continue to be a liability personally and professionally.


Awareness is defined as the act of being aware, having knowledge and understanding. Great people management consistently improves levels of self-awareness, relationship awareness, and organizational awareness.


Self-Awareness is the ability to recognize and understand behavioral drives and emotions. It is a reflection of ongoing professional and personal development, as well as the degree to which inner-self awareness is expressed. The capability to be self-aware is crucial to personal growth, and managing relationships.

Awareness in practice

How self-aware am I?

What do I pay attention to?

Am I evolving at a pace that ensures relevance and can lead change?

What impact do I create across the organization? What is my impact in every context in which I am responsible?

How adaptable and capable am I at meeting the complexity of our business?

Relationship Awareness

Relationship Awareness is the ability to recognize emotions and behaviors in others. Whether the relationship is one to one or in teams, great people managers are competent in understanding and having the knowledge to manage and coach relationships toward higher-level awareness. They understand the needs of putting people in environments to optimize their natural drives and talent.

Systems Awareness

Systems Awareness means having the ability to read a group’s emotional currents, power relationships and behavior drives, and identify influencer’s, networks and dynamics within the organization and beyond. The degree to which awareness is focused on the whole system and on community welfare determines the capacity to handle complexity. Systems awareness helps guide strategy to accomplish goals, no matter the setting or environment. Great people managers are aware of the internal networks and know how to find the right person to make decisions.


Insight is the power or act of seeing into a situation. Insight is the bridge between knowledge and innovation. Successful people management organizations foster an environment for “aha” generation, those moments when there is a new connection that was not seen before. They have the systems for accumulating and analyzing knowledge and intelligence in coordination with their strategy that yields insights that propel their people and organizations.


Response-Ability, the combination of two words “Response” “Ability”, simply means one’s ability to respond. Stephen Covey defined response-ability as the ABILITY to respond to any circumstance or condition. Successful people operate with a mindset that they have the power to influence the outcome of any event. Jack Canfield states that Response-Ability is the difference between mediocracy and success.

Great people management creates a culture that embodies the communication and processes where people are encouraged to influence outcomes in alignment with the business strategy.

Predictable Business Results

The role of the CEO is to generate predictable business results. When an organization behaves and produces as expected, leadership can continue to spend their time adjusting the strategy, and the people strategy adapts. The capacity of people to adapt is a direct correlation to the quality of people management. Successful people managers focus on enhancing levels of awareness, capturing and testing knowledge to generate insights, and build response-ability at every level.

The Predictive Index

The Predictive Index is a tool for leaders at every level, from CEOs on down to individual contributors. Successful people management businesses grant every employee access to platform. Giving people the gift of awareness, insight and response-ability, real magic can happen.

To ensure the people management tools can be share with as many people as possible—PI is inclusive, covering 70+ languages and removal of gender pronouns from our PI Behavioral Assessment™ reports.

Take a complimentary peek at the people management assessments, tools and solutions provided by PeopleSurge.

Forces of Employee Disengagement

Everyone is talking about Employee Engagement in the workplace and some companies are dedicating significant resources to attempt to measure it. Do you even know what’s causing the lack of employee engagement in your company and how would you address it if you did? Here are the 4 forces of employee disengagement:

1. Bad Hires—Augmenting your team with folks who are not a good fit for the job or the company in the first place is the most prominent force of disengagement.

2. Poor Management—Do your managers have the rights skills to manage and develop their employees and have they been given a platform to develop those skills?

3. Culture—The Silicon Valley start-up culture of ping pong tables, kegs of beer, and bean bag chairs is not a good fit for all companies. Is your leadership team equipped to both create and exemplify a corporate culture that makes employees want to be part of it?

4. Team Conflict—We are all wired differently which means we have different motivating needs and behaviors that show up in the workplace as in life. Do you spend time as a referee or counselor mitigating disagreements among co-workers or direct reports?

Imagine having access to team of professionals that can enable you to learn how to defuse these forces of disengagement. We enable companies to understand how their people are impacting business results. To find out how we are helping our clients fight the forces of disengagement, click on the LEARN MORE link below.

Employee Engagement

Most of us understand that employee engagement is something we should all have—yet very few organizations do. In one survey of 500+ executives, 71% ranked employee engagement as very important to their organizational success—yet only 24% said their own employees are highly engaged.

So what is this elusive, magical quality? Do we really need it? And how can we get it?

In a nutshell, employee engagement is a measure of the discretionary effort employees are willing to put in. And it is the key to productivity, retention, and a whole host of other KPIs such as customer satisfaction, safety and absenteeism. So yes, we all need it.

Cultivating employee engagement in our organizations can feel impossible without the right tools, and that’s where many leaders throw up their hands. But engagement is within reach—if you have collected the right information about your employees and know how to use it properly.

The necessity of meetings

Meetings are necessary, especially when companies are competing on talent and performance. However, research shows that meetings are often inefficient and ineffective. Poorly organized meetings cost an estimated $399 billion in the U.S. in 2019.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. We’ve all heard the complaints about spending too much time in meetings.

At PeopleSurge, we knew there had to be a better way. That’s why we implemented a simple formula that revolutionized our meetings:

Better + smaller + shorter = fewer.

In this practical guide, you’ll learn the simple formula for fewer meetings without sacrificing clear communication and productivity.

Crushing Meetings

Meetings are a necessary evil of conducting business and getting shit done. Even if you think you’re not having team meetings, you probably are – they are just the drop by meetings or do ya got a minute meetings or what are you doing right now meetings. If done well, you can save an incredible amount of time and get everyone working much more efficiently with one weekly team meeting. Here’s a few quick tips to get you there:

Same time, same place, same day of the week. Start and end the meeting at the same time and stick with that time. Create some sacred ground – a leadership meeting should only be missed if you are sick or on vacation.

Appoint a Tangent Sergeant. It’s easy to get off topic and start diving down rabbit holes. Rotate members of the team to call folks out when they start to veer off the road.

Have a living agenda with an agreed upon structure. Add issues & opportunities to your meeting agenda often. Skip drop by conversations and add those topics to the meeting agenda. Google docs work great. So do to-do apps like Asana, Trello, Basecamp or Todoist.

Have actionable to do’s that are assigned, agreed upon and followed up on. Once you figure out how to deal with a problem, address an opportunity, or finish a project follow up on it with one another and hold each other accountable.

Start operating with the Platinum Rule. “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them, not as you would have them do unto you.” Know how your peers and direct reports naturally communicate, process information & make decisions with the PI Assessment.

Practice makes perfect, especially when processing issues. Spend time getting to the root of your company’s issues. You’ll start to realize that a couple foundational changes will have a domino effect on the annoying little problems that keep popping up.

Good Managers Embrace Conflict

Victor Lipman is a management trainer and author. His online course on Udemy is The Manager’s Mindset and his book is “The Type B Manager.” He has more than 20 years of Fortune 500 management experience. He contributes regularly to Forbes and Psychology Today, and his work has appeared in Harvard Business Review.

Dealing with management conflict is something I know a fair amount about. Early in my management career, a mentor of mine took me aside. He praised my abilities (my knowledge of our business and my work ethic) but told me straight-out that for me to succeed in management, I was going to have to be able to deal with conflict more effectively. Today, more than two decades later, I still remember his exact words.

“I just don’t know if you can handle conflict,” he said. “Frankly, I don’t know if you want to handle conflict. I don’t know if you have the stomach for it. Because so much of management, particularly at the higher levels, involves dealing with conflict on a regular basis. Can you see yourself doing that?”

He was a fine mentor and he was 100 percent right. I was avoiding conflict more than I should have been. Conflict was stressful. It was easier to avoid it and get along with people. But as I came to realize more clearly over time, simply “getting along with people” wasn’t the job of management.

Management is about getting results. Getting positive results on an ongoing basis. As I often like to say, management is nothing if not a results-oriented endeavor.

Conflict as the everyday fabric of business

So why is conflict an inherent element of the managerial process? Think about common manager tasks:

  • Managers need to take corrective actions.
  • Managers need to candidly evaluate employee performance.
  • Managers need to allocate scarce resources.
  • Managers need to make hard personnel decisions about who does what, and why.
  • Managers need to hold people accountable.

The bottom line is that managers need to manage.

Managing conflict is an important skill for mangers

All of these essential functions can involve employee pushback. And differences of opinion, and disagreements. Or competition with other managers, and disputes.

In a word: conflict.

Conflict may often be nothing dramatic, just the everyday fabric of work getting done. It’s the thread from which the cloth of business is made.

Effective, successful managers recognize this and know how to handle conflict. Fairly, firmly, and diplomatically—without undue drama.

They deal with it. They don’t avoid it. They don’t steamroll it. They handle it.

Managing conflict is an issue more of will than of ability.

As my mentor told me, if I was going to succeed in management (which I definitely knew I wanted to do—I had a young family to support), I was going to have to handle conflict. So I did.

I worked at it diligently.

I prepared myself (emotionally as well as technically) for meetings and confrontations I sensed could be difficult.

I accepted that conflict went with the territory, and I would do what I had to do and try not to take it home with me.

Joy of Employee Reviews

It’s that time of year again! Pull out the pen and tell your employees what you really think about them! It’s either “you’re doing great and I’ve got to give you a raise” OR “you’re terrible at your job and we need to make a change”…….but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s five reasons you should love giving reviews:
  1. Sharing Your Values. Remember those timeless principles that so wonderfully exemplify what you believe is important in life and in business that you put on a poster and now you never talk about them? Reviews are a great way to tell the story of your values, especially the core ones. Use this one on one time to start a conversation about your core values and how your employee’s behavior stacks up against them….Good, Bad or Indifferent. Using core values as a measure of success also allows us to talk about the subjective in an objective fashion.
  2. Learn Something New About Yourself. Let your employees review you as part of their review. If you can’t take it, you’re probably not a good leader. If you’re open to being vulnerable, there’s a good chance you’ll learn something new about your company, your performance and how you conduct business. This is also a great time for introspection. Self-reflection is an incredibly powerful tool for celebrating our achievements and identifying our flaws.
  3. Get On The Same Page All The Time. Expectations of a role, a project and a relationship change constantly, and communication around those expectations is typically reactive, unproductive and sometimes non-existent. Start having “reviews” monthly or quarterly. Regularly scheduled conversations about how your employees are doing and what they should be doing may seem novel until their performance and your satisfaction of their output starts to skyrocket.
  4. Preview Instead Of Review. Use the allotted time to address the past for sure, but more importantly preview the future. Set personalized goals together and talk about how you can work as a team for the next period to achieve your shared vision of success
  5. Difficult Conversations Made Easy(-er). Have you have created open lines of communication with your staff and clearly identified all expectations of job performance? If you regularly talk about the values of the company then difficult conversations around performance will become few and far between or so obvious to all parties that the delivery is a foregone conclusion.