The underdogs of the corporate world, frontline managers are essential to connecting executives with frontline employees. Frontline managers motivate employees to perform critical duties within the business, handle project oversight and generate quality and productivity in the ground levels of the organisation.
The frontline managerial roles are frequently the least experienced tier of management, where many newly promoted professionals find themselves. Due to this inexperience, organisations have a responsibility to support and train first time leaders; yet this is not always the case.
Surveys in the UK have found that 42% of managers felt unprepared to take on a first managerial role and 69% of respondents admitted they did not spend enough time managing their time in that first leadership position.
There are similar findings in Australia, with 60% of survey respondents stating they had no formal leadership training before beginning their first leadership role. Further research found that more than 40% of workplaces did not meet performance targets during the year. This shows a massive gap in potential learning opportunities and organisations should set up programs to support first time managers.
When implementing a new learning management system and program for frontline managers, designers should focus on six key competencies. Improving these competencies along with industry-specific knowledge, will create a more productive and successful frontline workplace.
Technology has improved many aspects of our daily lives; however, it has hindered key communication skills that all professionals should master. This is especially true for frontline managers that need to be able to communicate well with their employees as well as those in superior roles. Frontline managers are the bridge between ground employees and corporate and must be approachable to improve employee satisfaction, yet authoritative to carry out tasks that come down from the organisation.
Since frontline managers are the bridge within organisations, it is important to develop political skills, such as situational awareness and empathy. Being able to network with key stakeholders in the organisation and finding out their needs and concerns will help improve the cohesiveness of the organisation. Understanding the need for and developing empathy improves collaboration with key members and employees. It also makes the frontline manager more insightful to the needs of the organisation.
Your LMS programs can be equipped with performance management tools that help develop insight to each individual’s strengths and weaknesses within their role. Offering support in measuring performance helps frontline managers understand their areas of expertise and areas to improve upon, which helps develop decision-making skills. Managers that are better equipped to make game-time decisions will better interact with others and understand how to handle conflict.
There is nothing like real-world application and frontline managers must possess skills needed to learn quickly and effectively when new situations arise. LMS programs with scenario-based assessments will improve learning ability so that managers are able to integrate their experiences and knowledge to adapt to any situation.
Motivation to motivate
Inspiring and guiding a group of individuals is a skill that sets leaders apart from the rest. First time leaders will need support when motivating others to complete work and may benefit from a mentor as their own motivational tool.
Along with motivation, managers must have the ability to influence decisions and actions of others. To achieve greater influence, managers should possess necessary communication and negotiation skills. Influencing the company and employees is an important skill managers can develop in formal training programs and through every day experiences.
Frontline managers often comprise the largest group of leaders in an organisation and can be essential tools for achieving success. Companies should acknowledge the value of frontline managers and take the time to implement an engaging LMS and training program to develop these key leaders.
Development of leadership qualities can lead to promotion opportunities within the organisation and keep the company running smoothly and effectively.
- (2016). Survey of Australian Business Reveals Failure of Leadership. The University of Melbourne. Retrieved from http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/news/survey-australian-business-reveals-failure-leadership
- (2017). Survey Uncovers UK Management Crisis. Northern Lights. Retrieved from http://www.northernlightspr.com/survey-uncovers-uk-management-crisis/
- (2017). Your Frontline Managers Need These Critical Skills. Center for Creative Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/your-frontline-managers-need-these-6-skills/
- Harmon, E. (2016). 5 Essential Skills for a Frontline Manager. Open Colleges. Retrieved from https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/careers/blog/5-essential-skills-frontline-manager
- Peardon, E. (2017). Is Your Workplace Lacking in Frontline Leadership? Quinn Allan. Retrieved from https://www.quinnallan.com.au/market-news-item/workplace-lacking-frontline-leadership/
- Shambaugh, R. (2012). Career Advice: 5 Ways to Boost Your Political Savvy and Social Intelligence. Huffington Post. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-shambaugh/career-advice_b_1273688.html