In-Demand People Manager Skills (And How To Build Them)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

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People management skills are essential for leaders and managers to succeed. These skills are crucial for professional development and can help you establish a cordial work relationship with the team. Knowing about essential management skills can help you learn and hone them through experience and practice. In this article, we discuss some essential people manager skills, review why they are important and share how you can build them.

Top people manager skills

People manager skills are mostly soft skills that leaders and managers require to lead their teams successfully. These skills are more challenging to define than technical skills and comprise different soft skills like communication, conflict management, trust and empathy. Strong people management skills can help leaders cultivate a motivated and productive work environment and enable people to thrive. Here are some top people manager skills necessary for leaders:


Strong communication skills are one of the most important people management skills as they can help leaders build other soft skills. Communication is an integral part of nearly all processes and tasks in project management, and it is essential for leaders to interact with clarity and transparency with their team. Open and healthy communication can help build trust, facilitate collaboration, exchange feedback and improve overall productivity. Defining expectations and goal setting also depend on strong communication. Communication also includes strong written communication skills, like report and email writing.

You can improve your communication skills in the following ways:

  • be an active listener

  • ask questions during meetings and discussion

  • think before you speak

  • speak calmly and clearly

  • practice what you have to say

  • become more emotionally aware

  • improve non-verbal communication, like body language

  • seek feedback

If you feel you require expert supervision and training, you can also consider enrolling for short-term personality development courses that emphasise improving communication. You can also seek mentors and experts to help you develop your language and writing skills. By being conscious of your words and expressions, you can learn how to articulate your ideas and thoughts better.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills


Closely related to communication is the ability to trust, and it is vital for leaders to trust their team members. Trust enables leaders and managers to be secure with giving their team members autonomy and independence. Trusting leaders tend to be more flexible and usually allow employees to take decisions without micro-managing them. When team members trust their managers and leaders, they feel more confident and get the assurance that their leaders want the best for them, which can result in higher productivity and motivation.

Trust is an inherently personal trait, but you can increase it through introspection and experience. It is important for you to increase your emotional awareness to identify your biases so that you can overcome them and trust others. Consider practising mindfulness and other activities that help you become more confident of your identity. Be vocal about trusting employees and give them responsibility and opportunities.

Problem-solving and conflict management

It is natural for organisations and teams to encounter challenges, both internal and external. A strong leader identifies these challenges timely and finds effective solutions for them. Solving challenges and ensuring the team's success is a primary responsibility of any manager. It is important to note that external and internal challenges may warrant different skills and expertise to navigate. For instance, internal challenges may require more empathy, creativity, patience and conflict resolution. In contrast, external challenges may require analytical skills, research and innovation.

You can learn how to improve your problem-solving and decision-making skills by learning about different approaches, being conscious of your biases and assumptions, questioning standard practices, learning more about your field and regularly engaging in creative problem-solving situations. To learn how to solve interpersonal challenges between team members, it can be helpful to practise objectivity, facilitation, feedback and conflict resolution. You can also develop your analytical skills to ensure that you are adept are analysing an issue from different perspectives and finding the most suitable solution.


It is critical for leaders to stay motivated and motivate their teams. Successful leaders understand the importance of motivation and engagement to maintain high levels of productivity and efficiency. They recognise that it takes energy and effort to get a team to perform and succeed. Workplace motivation and engagement are essential for the success of modern-day workplaces and working professionals. It is the leader's responsibility to align the goals of the individual and the organisation to establish synergy between them.

You can learn how to motivate team members by spending time and making an effort to understand their individuality. By learning about what incentives them, what they value, how they function, and their varied talents, you can leverage their strengths and abilities better. This can help you design the right mix of financial and non-financial incentives, like rewards, benefits, learning opportunities and career development. Motivating a team requires commitment, honesty and an earnest effort to help employees grow.

Related: Motivation At Work: How To Motivate Employees In Their Jobs

Appreciation and acknowledgement

The ability to credit team members with successes, encourage them to innovate, acknowledge their effort and celebrate their milestones is vital for managers. Praising junior team members when they demonstrate creativity or encouraging team members to innovate existing processes helps create a culture of transparency and appreciation. By thanking employees for their handwork, appreciating their effort and crediting them for success, managers can help develop a high-performance culture in their workplace.

To appreciate team members effectively, it can be helpful to remember these tips related to workplace acknowledgement:

  • Make it personal: Make sure that your message, whether written or spoken, is specific to the achievement of the team member. Put in the time and effort to personalise the email template and highlight their professional achievements.

  • Do it timely: Always acknowledge within a week of completing the project or task. You can utilise the weekly team huddle or company-wide townhall to ensure that the acknowledgement is timely rather than waiting for the quarterly or annual review.

  • Make sure it is public: Finally, remember that when you acknowledge someone in front of the entire team, it makes the experience more rewarding. Public appreciation and celebration of success validate the hard work and struggles of the individual, which works as a psychological reward as well.

Related: 61 Team Appreciation Messages (And 5 Tips For How To Write Them)


The ability to take ownership of the team's successes and failures is crucial for managers. Additionally, it is also important for managers and leaders to take accountability for individual team members, alongside their growth and well-being. This is important to cultivate a culture of discipline and ownership in the team and demonstrate to employees that everyone is responsible for their actions. When employees and team members see their leaders admitting their mistakes, taking accountability for failures, being fair and reprimanding rule-breakers, it increases their trust and respect in the company's culture.

Accountability is a tough characteristic to learn and requires patience and continuous effort. As a leader, start by being aware of your responses, criticism, feedback and expressions. Be honest with yourself and others about why you are taking certain decisions, what your motivations are and how you hold yourself accountable. Seek feedback from team members and other leaders in the organisation on how you can improve, become more accessible and increase your answerability. Becoming more accountable can also help you improve your interpersonal relationships.

Related: Top Qualities Of An Outstanding Leader


One of the most important leadership skills that can help managers motivate, trust and encourage their teams is patience. Being responsible for the actions of others and not having your vision translate into reality can be a frustrating process. But, it is important for leaders to remain patient and calm, even during times of high pressure and stress. Patience and mindfulness can make you more accessible and transparent with other team members. It can also help you remain objective, avoid confrontation and focus better. Employees may feel more conformable sharing their challenges with a more patient leader.

Patience is an inherent trait, but you can develop it with discipline. Start by meditating every day and practising mindfulness. When a challenging situation arises, keep your emotions in control, stay calm and do not make conclusions reflexively. If you feel agitated or disturbed, step away from your workplace for a few minutes, take a deep breath and take your time before responding. You can also set a set routine to help you inculcate a sense of regularity and predictability in your workday.

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