Guide to becoming a better manager with PI

Have your employees completed the PI Behavioral Assessment? If not, use the Sending Assessments Guide to learn how to assess your employees and understand their drives, needs, and behaviors in the workplace. Then, come back here to learn about leveraging those results to develop your management capabilities.

All set? Now let’s begin.

Here’s your roadmap to using PI’s tools to develop managers.

1. Manage people

Use these tools when:

  • Entering a managerial role for the first time
  • Managing a new employee
  • Handling conflict between two employees

Why this matters

Being an effective manager involves understanding what drives the behaviors of your direct reports. In doing so, you can leverage your own personal strengths to successfully manage your team.

PI tools you should use:

Whether you’re a first time manager or one with years of experience, PI’s Manager Development Chart provides you with actionable insights based on your behavioral drives. The chart includes a description of your natural strengths and respective caution areas to consider as a manager. There are also self-coaching tips provided to help you balance your most naturally occurring behavioral style in a variety of situations.

Here’s how to generate the Manager Development Chart: 

Manager Development Chart Walkthrough

Have you ever managed two employees who just don’t see eye to eye? Employee conflict can lead to decreased motivation, trust, and performance on a team.

The PI Relationship Guide is a tool designed specifically to mediate these conversations. Through awareness of employees’ communication styles, strengths, cautions, and blockers, this guide can help you form better, more effective working relationships while minimizing personal squabbles.

Here’s how to generate the 1:1 Relationship Guide: 


Don’t let different working styles get in the way of productivity. Reach out to your PI Champion to learn more about how the relationship guide can help you navigate those complex work relationships!

Download your own Manager Development Chart

Download your Manager Development Chart to identify your natural strengths and caution areas as a manager. Use the guide to inform and adjust your managerial style as you see fit!

Resolve conflict

Are two employees not seeing eye to eye? Download their Relationship Guide and set up a meeting with them both. Here’s a general framework for this conversation:

1. Start with Relationship Strengths – Open the conversation by exploring the strengths that the two recognize in each other. For example, “ [Person 1] tell me something that [Person 2] does really well.”

2. Move on to Relationship Cautions – Ask each employee to describe the conflict at hand without interrupting each other. If the conflict aligns with any of the cautions listed on the Relationship Guide, let the employees know that the conflict arose from a difference in their natural behaviors- this often provides a sense of relief. If not, move on to step 3.

3. Give Relationship Tips – Using what you learned in the session and what you already know about the two employees, facilitate a conversation that explores actions they can each take based on the Relationship Tips section of the Relationship Guide. Remember that Relationship Strengths can be leveraged while planning these actions!

Communicate more effectively

Use the 1:1 Relationship Guide to encourage better communication among employees. Knowing whether an employee prefers time scheduled on their calendar or an off-the-cuff visit to their office to have a discussion can greatly improve relations between members on a team.

2. Manage expectations

Use the Management Strategy Guide when:

  • Becoming a new manager for a team
  • A new employee is added to the team
  • Meetings with employees, such as 1 on 1s and Performance Reviews

Why this matters

When managers tailor the way they coach, motivate, and give feedback based on individual behavioral needs, it leads to better relationships—and better results.

PI tools you should use:

A common pitfall for managers is thinking, “If I treat everyone how I want to be treated, I’ll be a great manager.” PI’s Management Strategy Guide gives managers custom insights into how to manage others the way they want to be managed— no guesswork involved. 

The guide identifies what management strategies will enable individuals to thrive, based on their behavioral preferences for workplace interactions, how they take action, respond to risk, and make decisions.

Here’s how to generate the Management Strategy Guide:

Management Strategy Guide Walkthrough

Check out our Guide to Developing Individuals for more examples on when to use the Management Strategy Guide!

Print and share an individual’s Management Strategy Guide

Print, download, or email a direct report’s Management Strategy Guide to share with two people:

    • The direct report
    • The manager

(Both people should receive the same version of the Management Strategy Guide)

Review and reflect on management strategies

Have the manager and their direct report(s) work through the Management Strategy Guide exercise separately.

  • The direct report should review page 1 and complete item 1 (Reflect) on page 2 as an assessment of their manager
  • The manager should review page 1 and complete item 1 (Reflect) on page 2 as an assessment of themselves

Have an action planning conversation

Then, bring the two together for an action planning conversation. During this meeting, the manager and direct report will compare their responses from page 1 of the Management Strategy Guide to review both strengths and opportunities.

Build an action plan using the Management Strategy Guide

Finally, the manager & direct report will use items 2, 3, and 4 on page 2 of the Management Strategy Guide to build an action plan based on the discussion. Do this 1-2 times a year.

3. Manage growth

Use the Coaching Guide when:

  • Aligning an employee’s natural behaviors with your expectations of the role
  • Preparing a new employee for the behavioral expectations of their role
  • Coaching an employee towards better performance

Why this matters

As a manager, you’re responsible for understanding the strategic goals and initiatives of your organization. That way, you can align your employees’ work  to achieve those goals.

PI tools you should use:

Use the Coaching Guide to provide your employees with custom reflection questions based on their behaviors. These prompts will help them leverage their natural strengths for a given role—or identify areas of growth and actions to take to more closely meet the company’s expectations for their role.

Consider what you are trying to achieve as a manager. Take into account the employee’s situation. Is this a new employee? A low performer? High performer? Disengaged team member? This context, along with your intended outcome, will influence how you approach the conversation and identify specific actions to take to improve performance.

Here’s how to generate a Coaching Guide:

Coaching guide

Note: You will also need a Job Target to use the Coaching Guide. Here’s how to create one.

Define the goal
  • It is important that the employee come up with specific goals, and the solutions to take them to the next level. Support the employee in taking ownership of both the goal and the solution. Ask the employee where they think they have room for improvement. You may “know” the solution, but the idea is to get the employee to realize this on their own.
  • Remember that the goal should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely).

Create an action plan
    • Ask questions to help the employee come up with action items to accomplish their performance goal, such as, “What are some ways you could do that?”
    • Here’s an Employee Goals template that can help you get started.
  • Follow up with the employee.
    • Before the end of the meeting, agree to a follow-up plan. The follow up is an important but often forgotten step; work gets busy, and schedules become packed. Put time on your calendars now to check in later for progress, which can help keep both you and the employee accountable.
    • Suggested check in dates are 30, 60, and 90 days out for short-term goals, or quarterly for longer-term goals.

Keep going

When the employee’s goal is attained with their current job, celebrate the accomplishment! Now it’s time to look toward the future and what opportunities or career paths are available for the employee. Repeat this process with a future job in mind.

Use the Manager’s Guide to Reference Profiles

General tips for managing employees for each of the 17 Reference Profiles.

PI’s People Management Study

Discover the traits that most strongly correlate with great (and terrible) managers.

To inform us of a typo or other error, click here. To request a new feature, click here.