Managing people is an art and a science.

Leaders are successful because they know how to manage a diverse team of people – their personalities, ambitions, expectations and responsibilities.  Juggling all these dynamics can be very challenging.  To some it’s an art, to others it’s a science.

So what’s the difference and how do they work together?

Let’s start with the science. Science is about information, knowledge and theories by a systemic pattern of observation and study.  We have all read books and watched others follow a process of communication from introducing the topic to concluding with an agreement on next steps.  There is a formula that many management gurus suggest that works and gets the best results time after time. 

So for example, what are the steps of a meeting with your team?

  1. Open the meeting and thank them for coming
  2. State the objective and purpose of the meeting
  3. Tell them how the meeting is going to flow
  4. Ask them questions to get their perspective
  5. Comment and build on their answers and input
  6. Come up with an agreed action plan
  7. Close the meeting and thank them for their contribution

This is the science.  This answers the question … What must I do to have a successful meeting?

But that’s the simple part.  The more difficult part comes in how you conduct this meeting and how you react and interpret other’s feedback and comments and how you manage their reactions too. Human behaviour is unpredictable, it changes from moment to moment on how people think, act or react differently in the same circumstances.  Art requires putting that knowledge and theory into practice and mastering the skills.  Managers need to master their skills in dealing with people and being able to express themselves without offence or misunderstanding.

The art of managing people is all about emotional intelligence.  It’s about understanding the other person, what makes them tick and how they react to certain situations.  This is not necessarily what the person has said, but how they said it and their emotions that drive that behaviour or speech.   It’s about understanding the nuances of what people are saying and clarifying their message to ensure everyone understands it the same way. Emotional intelligence is all about self-confidence, emotionally aware of self and others, intensity level, and more.

To be successful, managers have to know and do things effectively and efficiently. This requires a unique combination of both science and art of managing in them.

If you need any assistance with the art and the science of managing your people, email us on

Managing people is an art and a science.

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