According to a survey done by McKinsey in 2010, about 81% of frontline managers are dissatisfied with their own performance. The same survey indicates that as many as 70% of senior executives are not satisfied with their frontline managers. The main reason for this is because, the company’s training programs are not tailored to the needs of the frontline managers, according to the report.
So, what are the training needs of a typical frontline manager?
Frontline managers oversee a group of employees who perform key tasks directly related to the production of the company’s final product. Very often they are preoccupied with administrative chores such as enforcing rules and regulations, creating reports, signing off approvals or attending meetings. However, their jobs require them to lead and motivate a team for which the following skills are essential.
Frontline managers need to interact with frontline employees on a day to basis, communicating the expectations their responsibilities and expectations of the management. At the same time, they need to report issues, problems or situations that need attention back to the management. All these require effective communication skills.
Frontline managers need to be mentors to the production employees and strive to bring out the best in them. He needs to motivate and coach them to ensure efficiency and quality of the goods. This is possible only if they have mentoring skills.
Frontline managers oversee a group of employees who perform key tasks directly related to the production of the company’s final product. In this process, they need to be leaders, spearheading a team to achieve set goals and not just remain a liaison officer between the management and shop floor. For this, he needs to build leadership skills.
Time management skills:
A frontline manager has to divide his time between coaching/mentoring, administrative responsibilities, issues on the shop floor that need attention and so on. Very often, administrative responsibilities take most of the manager’s time that other crucial aspects such as coaching and mentoring get neglected. Building time management skills would be required to strike an acceptable and productive balance.
Conflict-resolution, problem-solving and decision-making skills:
Front line managers are typically first time managers with little experience in handling conflicts and making on-the-spot decisions. However, they are offered very little support and training to build these skills. Some acquire them on the job through trial and error, while others may not. However, with the help of the training support from the management, frontline managers would be more successful in nipping conflicts and problems in the bud without having the need to escalate them to the management.
It is said, in the report by McKinsey, that first-time managers are often left to learn the ropes of managing the team on their own without much help from the senior management. However, companies that have invested in training their frontline managers to be guides, facilitators and initiators of best practices saw marked improvement in their productivity. The McKinsey report states that focus on dedicated training programs to develop leadership skills and interpersonal skills would definitely help in better performance of frontline managers.
In case face-to-face classroom training programs are expensive and not feasible, eLearning modules can be developed for this purpose. Story-based and scenario-based eLearning would work very well for the purpose. By allocating just under an hour every day, your frontline manager can build the required skills that would better equip him or her to perform his or her responsibilities as a ‘true manager’.