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Managing People

Managing people

Managing people can be rewarding, and it's also an extremely important role in most organisations.

Research has shown that the first tier of line management (front line managers, supervisors and team leaders) have the greatest influence on staff performance and engagement to their organisation.

Having skilled and able managers is therefore critical to any organisation's success. 


Download the new Acas guide pdf  Managing people [319kb]

The guide advises managers about their role and provides guidance on how to approach situations that may arise.

Acas OnLine Learning - Managing people

This module is an introduction to the skills and behaviours that make an effective manager, it will explore some of the common issues that managers face.


Key points:

  • New and future managers should be provided with training to prepare them for the responsibilities they are likely to have.
  • It is important that a manager understands exactly what is expected of them.
  • Managers have a duty of care to their staff and must take all reasonable steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of their team members.
  • A manager should ensure that their team members receive all of their employment and contractual rights.
  • A manager should have frequent, open and honest discussions with their team members about work and performance.
  • A manager needs to be able to keep their staff motivated and engaged.

What is the role of a manager?

The role of a front line manager, supervisor, or team leader is to ensure that their team functions as required and meet, or exceed, their goals or targets. While duties may vary slightly, it will usually involve:

  • Leading their team so that they are engaged in their work and want the organisation to be successful. For example, giving staff regular feedback so that good work is recognised and support is given for improvements when necessary.
  • Looking after their team members. Managers have a duty of care to their staff and therefore must take all reasonable steps to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff. For example, ensuring that team members have the correct equipment to do their job safely.
  • Ensuring team members are aware of their employment rights. Also any contractual terms set out in the conditions of employment, and the policies of the organisation. For example, checking that staff are taking their annual leave.
  • Managing day-to-day tasks to ensure work is completed on time. For example, prioritising work so that critical tasks are done first but that non-urgent tasks are not simply forgotten about.
  • Developing team members. This could be through feedback and delegation, or it could be supporting a new team member to get them 'up to speed' and more confident in their role.
  • Responding to issues that may arise from to time and resolving the matter so that it does not affect the performance of the team. For example, monitoring a long-term absence and taking steps, such as finding a temporary replacement.

Leading and communicating with team members

Effective leadership encourages high performance and cultivates a culture of success in the workplace. Poor line management may lead to low productivity levels and high staff turnover that can have serious consequences for the organisation.

Tips to help be an effective leader and build good working relationships include:

  1. Be as open as possible with team members and trust them to do what is expected of them

  2. Get to know each team member and take the time to listen to their concerns and ideas

  3. Understand employment rights 

  4. Deal with concerns and potential disciplinary matters promptly

  5. Set objectives with clear outcomes

  6. Communicate clearly and honestly, and hold regular team meetings

  7. Listen to the ideas of team members on how best to achieve goals

  8. Treat all team members as you would want to be treated yourself

  9. Promote training and development opportunities to keep team members interested and motivated

  10. Give credit where due and highlight successes.

Additional responsibilities when managing people

In addition to the day-to-day management of team members, it may sometimes be necessary to take on some additional responsibilities. These may include:

Recruiting new staff

A manager may be in charge of recruitment within their own team. When recruiting a new member of staff, a manager should:

  • Identify the key tasks of the vacancy and the personal qualities required of applicants, including the skills and knowledge essential for the post. Make these clear in the job advertisement but make sure there is no direct or indirect discrimination.
  • Try to have more than one person involved in choosing candidates to interview, and present at the interview itself. This can help to avoid unintended bias.

For more information go to Recruitment

Monitoring absence

At some point, team members will become ill and unable to attend work. While short-term absence can cause difficulties, it usually has less impact on the team than long-term absence. It is important to handle long-term absence sensitively and consistently.

A manager will need to know why the team member is off, when they are expected to be able to come back and consider how the rest of the team may manage in their absence.    

For more information go to Managing absence

Conducting an investigation

A manager may be required to conduct an investigation into a matter to establish the facts. Not completing a reasonable investigation where necessary, may make a decision or action unfair and leave an employer vulnerable to legal action.

For more information go to Carrying out investigations in the workplace

Discipline and grievance

While most matters are usually best dealt with informally, sometimes formal action may be needed. The Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance procedures gives practical guidance for handling these issues in the workplace. Failure to follow the Code doesn't make a person or organisation liable to proceedings, however, an employment tribunal will take it into account when considering relevant cases.

For more information go to Discipline

Acas training courses

Acas run practical training courses to equip managers, supervisors and HR professionals develop the necessary skills to deal with people management issues and to create more productive workplace environments.

You can view an overview of our training here

Or view related Acas training and dates of events in your area for:


Acas also offers free e-learning which can help your managers and supervisors develop their skills further. View or register for Acas e-learning today