Key Competencies of Front-line Managers at Fast-Paced Organizations

The journey from a front-line manager to the top tier management is not easy; it requires a combination of soft and hard competencies that offer a blend of management and leadership skills. Not everyone succeeds – as borne by myriad studies and research data that show that individual high performers, when promoted to managerial positions, do not necessarily do well. Can corporate training for managers help to polish management and leadership skills in front-line managers?

David Gordon, President, The Cheesecake Factory, shared how he rose from the position of a Brand Manager to the company President in a span of 19 years during an interview with Fortune. According to him, every new manager should have three important skills, i.e., humility, self-awareness, and a passion to help others. As a firm believer in these attributes of personal effectiveness, Gordon considered them to be the real drivers of management and leadership skills.

All managers, let alone front-line managers, require management and leadership skills for problem solving and decision-making. According to a research, front-line managers at high-performing organizations face a lot of challenging situations. They are responsible for managing the workforce that defines the customer experience. The effectiveness of front-line managers in managing the individual employees, in sales, retail, services, you name it, etc. actually defines customer experience. High performing organizations have the most empowered and effective front-line managers.

What happens when a STAR EMPLOYEE becomes a FRONT-LINE Manager?

Imagine supervising your colleagues!

Just because you are an A rated employee doesn’t mean that you are a born manager. At some stage, you will be promoted to a managerial level. Corporate training for managers is your savior in such a situation. Developing key competencies in basic management and leadership skills such as gauging the true potential of the employees, coaching them, motivating them to reach objectives, are key attributes that give the competitive edge to high performing organizations.

The transition from individual contributor to team lead calls for clarity of objectives and precision in reaching targets. Your job as a front-line manager is to create a healthy working relationship with the colleagues, schedule regular staff meetings, and discuss the role of every employee separately. Linda Hill from the Harvard Business School aptly said, “New managers must learn how to lead others, to win trust and respect, to motivate, and to strike the right balance between delegation and control.”

Front-line managers who are well-versed in HR practices and policies, and are adept at hiring the right people for the right job, are truly an asset to any organization.

Front-line managers are the bridge between the workforce and the middle and senior management. High performing organizations empower them to make decisions and improvise on the spot.

The front-line manager is the immediate boss of the individual contributor. The manager is a person who is completely responsible for taking care of every team member, maintaining consistence for excellence and ensuring to provide quality knowledge to the workforce. In the early 1980’s, Michael Eisner, President Disney, make it obvious that individual contributors are essential players by sharing the importance of the people who make your organization unique, have fundamental contributions, and who are easily overlooked are no other than the animators.

Strong interpersonal skills, establishing clear lines of communication, and diplomatic acumen are key assets of front-line managers in top performing organizations.

Front-line managers are often confronted with the challenge of implementing decisions that have been made at the top; they must be able to persuade and influence team members, especially the key players, to deliver the desired results. Without strong influencing skills, they won’t be able to get anything done. For building a healthy relationship with the team, nuanced communication skills are required.

The front-line managers at fast-paced organizations have polished management and leadership skills than low-paced organizations.

The researchers from Bangladesh compared the role of front-line managers between high-performing organization and low-performing organizations; they concluded that front-line managers at high-performing organization have more influential, persuasive, and better understanding of management and leadership skills. High-performing organizations regularly arranged corporate trainings for managers, which make them, stand out in the market. Well-planned corporate training for managers hones their communication skills, management and leadership skills, technical and human skills that enable to achieve ambitious goals of the organizations.