If you run a business and haven't heard of leadership expert Warren Bennis's book "Managing People Is Like Herding Cats," you're certainly familiar with the concept. Management expert Sanjay Murthi notes many new managers often have little faith in other people's abilities and try to do all of the work themselves. This tendency, he warns, can be disastrous in the long run. Managing people may seem like an art rather than a science, but you can learn how get the most out of your employees.
Read "The New Art of Managing People." When management expert Catherine Carr of the United Space Alliance gave a presentation to NASA for its Project Management Challenge 2010 training event, she consulted this book by Tony Alessandra and Phillip Hunsaker. If the book, which addresses ways to identify, understand and relate to different types of employees, can help one of the world's most sophisticated organizations learn how to manage its people, it can help your business too.
Computerize your human resources department. Management software can help you stay on top of your employees and tasks. The business-mentoring organization SCORE, formerly the Service Corps of Retired Executives, recommends HRTools human resource software. HRTools provides a suite of applications that can be used to generate job descriptions, performance reviews and employee handbooks, as well as tools to help you learn valuable coaching techniques.
Take a seminar. The American Management Association offers classroom, online and on-site training to assist you in learning how to manage people. Seminars with titles such as "Successfully Managing People," "The Voice of Leadership: How Leaders Inspire, Influence and Achieve Results" and "Developing Executive Leadership" are available.
Print out reminders. As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate, so it's easy to get sidetracked and forget what you've learned. It's important to have an accessible reference when you're dealing with employee issues on the fly. SCORE's Top Leadership Tips, listed on entrepreneur.com, run the gamut from tips on hands-on leadership and cultivating confident employees to "knowing when you're getting stale" and even "managing yourself." Print these out and keep them handy for those inevitable times when you need them.
Managing people can be challenging, but if you're organized and do your homework, you can spend less time focusing on employee issues and more time making money.
Michael Kerr is an award-winning freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon. He writes about business, health and travel for a number of publications including Portland Business Journal, Healthline Networks and USAToday, among others.