People Management is a term widely used in the business world, by managers, their employees, by Human Resources, and by academics. We’ve gotten awfully comfortable with the term. Performance appraisals/reviews/plans by managers of and with their staff are among the tools they have to “manage” their people. I wish to tender the following argument; run screaming to the exits and let’s abandon the concept of people management.
Warren Bennis; Founding Chairman of The Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California said in 1989 that “managers do things right; leaders do the right things”. The dictionary definition of management, and in many ways the practice of management is “the process of dealing with or controlling things or people”.
To make the point again from the definition, with emphasis… management includes CONTROLLING PEOPLE!! So now how do you feel about being “managed”? I contend that a paradigm shift is needed here; where we remove the term and premise of People Management (aka “controlling” which is what we do TO people) from our business vocabulary and glossary.
Another term or descriptor is needed that flows from what we as managers actually do WITH and FOR our people. We help people, support people, coach people, lead people (at least those willing to follow), direct people, inspire people, influence people, engage people, develop people, challenge and encourage people. Pretty good list and I’m sure I missed a couple. Managers who embrace the nature of their work relationship with their staff as what they do with and for their people demonstrate their leadership, generally garner the best performance from their people, deliver the best results, and enjoy the greatest loyalty from those people.