What is Managing People Really All About?

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

By Cynthia Lynne Y. Sarayba, MBA, CTRS, AFPM

After almost 20 years of managing people, I’ve come to realize that you become a better manager if you can manage people who are hard to manage. Managing would be easy if everyone you manage were all hard-working, collaborative, had a good attitude & exceptional talent, but of course, that is not reality. There are important lessons I have learned from my readings and actual experiences as an HR practitioner.

One of them is that the focus should be on us. We, as managers, must be able to exhibit empathy & perception to our people as Simon Sinek has shared in one of his videos. It’s all about changing our behavior & taking ourselves out of the situation and looking at it from the perspective of an outsider. By shifting our focus inward and managing ourselves, we are able to gauge how we are to react and exhibit the proper behavior in particular situations. Being more aware of who we are, our thoughts, feelings, experience, perception & being curious about how we come to decisions that affect our performance as a leader. We need to ask ourselves what we could have done differently to improve the outcome of a particular situation. We need to take care of ourselves first so we can be there for other people and be able to exhibit the appropriate behaviour and guidance when the situation calls for it.

Second is our ability to show our empathy by avoiding the label/s we have of our people and treating them like we do our friends is another character of a leader. Managers are people who are not just in charge but who should be able to look after the well being and career growth of people under our care. We need to create an environment that values performance and shows concern of the well-being of our people. It is all about giving to them credit when it is due, reprimand them when something goes wrong, and ingraining in them the sense of responsibility to get the task done right hopefully the first time around. Empathy is being genuinely connected to people and being emotionally attuned. To find out what their personal experiences and point of view are in particular situations, and to offer our guidance when needed. At the end of the day, how are these developments affecting them?

Finally, managers have to be perceptive. They need to walk around without blinders since it is human nature that we have preferences with whom we connect. Managers should avoid deep-seated assumptions which means looking at the same picture with different points of view. This involves impulse control wherein they are aware of how their people are feeling rather than just taking action. Managers need to be aware of what their roles are in how biases can distort perceptions they have about other people. They should always remember to keep an open mind by paying attention to their perceptions & what impact it has on their people. And lastly paying attention to their emotions to be able to make healthy choices.

Thus, as leaders, we are our most important tool. So never forget to take breaks, manage your stress and have fun!


About the Writer:

Cynthia Lynne Y. Sarayba, MBA, CTRS, AFPM is the current PMAP Chairman of the Leadership Development Committee. She is at present connected with St. Luke’s Medical Center as HR Business Partner for both its Global & Quezon City facilities. She has almost 20 years of HR experience of which 15 years in a managerial capacity. She is a graduate of Masters in Business Administration at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business and a graduate of the Basic Management Program at the Asian Institute of Management. She is a certified ASEAN Total Rewards Specialist in Singapore and was recently conferred the title of Associate Fellow in People Management.








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