• Traditional management models stress the
development of detailed project plans and the
rigorous observation of disciplined models.
• Developed by engineering and manufacturing
organisations they assume workflows with
controlled variables and fixed inputs, in short
they assume that you are managing
machines, not human beings.
• Any experienced manager knows that you
can follow the Gant Chart and
spreadsheet every element to the finest
degree, but the human factor will always
be the element which bites back.
• Failure to effectively engage with people
management repeatedly causes projects
to underperform, miss targets and fail,
leaving managers who adhered to the
traditional management models confused
• Effective people management actually
relies on only five key skills, the Five ‘C’s:
• "No one cares how much you know until
they first know how much you care about
• “We're in charge and we talk about targets and
goals and visions, but our employees don't care
about any of that stuff for very long. We can
communicate and engage and connect all we
want, but no one really listens to us. They just
smile and nod and go back to doing their jobs
the way they always do.
• "Our employees don't really care about
what we want them to do until they know
how much we care about them. When an
employee knows--truly knows--that you
care about them, then they care about
you. And when they know you care, they
will listen to you... and they will do
anything for you."
The 5C’s in brief…
The Five C’s
• Build a team which is fit for purpose. Don’t try to
use the wrong tool for the job and then complain
that the hammer won’t make the screw work!
This involves making the correct decisions on
• The first is recruitment, the fundamental basis of
the success of any business. If the right people
aren’t coming into an organisation how can you
expect the results to be successful? Hire the
best people, hire the right people.
• The second element is training. It is vital that you give
people the skills they need to do a good job. If you have
people who aren’t quite right, develop them. They will not
only be better suited and more productive, they will be
grateful for the investment and commitment.
• Thirdly and finally a good manager must create the right
team structure and set the boundaries. A robust set of
measures for success, clearly explained and tracked
with discipline will give your people the framework for
success, and just as important, tells them how to
• Understand the people in your team, their
personalities, their motivations and personal
goals. A good manager needs to be empathetic,
not a slave driver. One person may be a natural
completer-finisher, another could be great at
• By understanding the individuals, rather than
treating them as identikit simulacra, you will find
better ways to communicate, motivate and
• How do you do this? By spending time with
them, the classic ‘management by wandering
around’ pays dividends here. Invest in your
people and you will gain the benefit of
• Once you begin to understand the people in
your team you will be able to make better
judgements as to where they will be most
effective, how to get the most from them and
how to develop them.
• It is essential that you can convey your
thoughts, concerns and needs to your
• You must be able to motivate them and
lead them, tell them when you’re not
getting what you need, explain when
changes are made and congratulate them
when they are doing well. All of this
requires effective skills in communication.
• This need not even be overtly verbal
communication, influencing them through
a simple smile or cheerful ‘hello’ can
create a positive frame of mind.
• By ensuring that you always come across
as positive you make your team feel
positive about you and themselves.
• When a more detailed communication is needed your
message must be succinct and clear, getting to the heart
of the matter and reinforcing your goal. To do this it is
vital that your communication is planned: what is the
best approach, the best time, the right media? The key is
invariably to keep it as simple as possible.
• Planning not only makes communication more effective,
it also saves time; by spending a little more of his/her
time planning the manager can save a lot of both their
and the team’s time in clarifying what was
meant. Communicate clearly and often. If things are
going well it’s important to say so, and if not so well it’s
• A good manager should never shy away from
addressing issues as soon as they are identified.
This doesn’t mean aggressive confrontation, but
instead engaging with an issue collaboratively.
• Give feedback, and when you do make sure
you open with a positive and close with a
positive. By telling someone what you value and
admire in them they can more readily accept a
criticism, and acceptance is the first step to
• Finally, make sure you ask for feedback as
well as giving it and you will win yourself
support and loyalty, and may well learn
something of value about yourself.
• A manager is not an island, he/she should be at
the heart of the team. Ensure that you share and
delegate to get the best results.
• People will respond to being given responsibility,
they step up and by allowing them to develop
into doing something that previously only you
could do you free yourself to do something else
and add value to the entire process.
• In short you multiply the effectiveness of
• Of course not everything is plain sailing
and issues will occur, but by taking joint
responsibility for any failures in the team
(after all it is your team) you show
everyone that you are all in it together,
engendering respect, loyalty and
• People are different, they see things differently and
engage with issues differently, and where this happens
there is invariably conflict. This can be overt, where two
or more people argue over the best way forwards or,
often more dangerously, it may be hidden when
someone disagrees but does not feel empowered to
• Conflict can kill a team, it can create resentment,
undermine cooperation and drive great people out.
When conflict appears it is vital that the manager spots
it, by having a good understanding of the people in
his/her team (Comprehend), and then engages with it.
• Good communication, bringing the various ideas
to the table and looking at them openly, can turn
a threat into an opportunity. A team can walk
away understanding each other better, feeling
more cohesive and possibly having discovered a
better way forwards.
• The manager’s role is to communicate and
engage, and never be defensive, even if they
are the subject of the criticism. By taking on the
mantle of management you set yourself up for
criticism, and a good manager can take it and
learn from it.
• There are times when there is no resolution. Entrenched
contrary opinions may not see a middle ground. In these
instances a good manager must be able to not only walk
away themselves, but lead others to walk away too. If a
decision must be made it must be the manager’s
• They must act as the lightning rod for any ill feeling;
never let it remain within and between the team. In the
most extreme cases an individual will not back down and
cannot be managed. Their actions undermine the team
and threaten the project. Early and decisive engagement
• The manager must be robust and
unswerving, bringing clear and irrefutable
evidence of the negative behaviour and its
impact on the project.
• The meeting with the individual should
never be aggressive, but always be
robust, explaining the issues clearly, using
the evidence to back the manager’s
• The manager should be supported by higher
management and HR, to reinforce to the
employee the seriousness of their actions.
Finally it must be accepted that not everyone is
right for a role or a team, and sometimes the
right thing to do is to move someone out.
• This is never easy, but if it is right it should
never be shied away from. For a good people
manager the team must always be more
important than any one person.
• These five elements; Create,
Comprehend, Communicate, Collaborate
and Confront, form the basis of an
effective people management approach.
• Whilst each element is important in its own
right they all interrelate with and support
• By employing this approach effectively a
manager will not only deliver the project
goals they are tasked with, but in doing so
he/she will be creating more rounded,
effective individuals, developing a flexible
and motivated team and cementing their
own reputation as a manager not only of
projects, but of people.
• Jason Collings is Director of Quarsh, a
leading UK Recruitment Process
Outsourcing provider specialising in talent
acquisition and HR support. Website: