Good managers can make or break a business. They’re essential to developing a positive and productive workforce, which, in turn, improves employee retention levels and ensures everybody in the business is working in line with the company’s strategy and objectives.

Good people management comes down to experience. Courses can teach you the theories, sure, but there’s no substitute for the day-to-day practice of managing staff and their issues.

You can, however, bolster your people management skills with a common-sense approach and a healthy respect for everyone you come into contact with.

Here are my top tips to help you better manage your employees.

1. Avoid micro-managing

Your employees were hired because they could do the job – so let them do it. Give clear instructions, ask for advice when it’s needed, and praise for the work they do.

2. Take time to get to know your staff

Understand that they have lives outside work, and that personal and domestic issues can’t always be left at the workplace doors.

3. Don’t ask staff to do tasks you wouldn’t do yourself

And don’t ask staff to take risks you wouldn’t take.

4. Listen to suggestions

Ideas often come from people undertaking tasks on a daily basis. Give these ideas careful consideration, and reward staff when their ideas generate business, save money or increase productivity.

5. Create the right teams

A good team is more than the sum of its parts. Keep an eye open for signs of tension and disagreement in teams, especially if one team member looks constantly unhappy.

6. Cultivate an atmosphere of openness, not fear

If staff feel they can come to you, they’re more likely to broach issues early, rather than covering them up and hoping for the best.

7. Give staff chances to develop and progress

Your retention levels will be better if staff feel they’re learning and growing in a job with good prospects of career development.

8. Be approachable, but stay professional

Remember, you’re a manager, not a friend. Be clear where the lines are drawn.

Good people management is imperative for business success. Make it a priority to review and hone your people skills and don’t expect miracles from your employees or yourself – they’re only human, and so are you.