Echoing the words of Emile Durkheim, an organization is a woven web of interdependencies. We cannot refute the fact that organizational leaders depend on the delegation of responsibility above and below themselves within the hierarchy. It follows that business leaders are only as good as their subordinates. Organizational managers are in a position where their leadership and performance is evaluated based on their ability to achieve results, which is intimately tied to how effectively they delegate responsibility to and develop their subordinates. This concept is critical for those individuals who make their first move up the organizational hierarchy—the frontline leader.
Because frontline supervisors are those individuals who are new to a leadership role, they require a unique shift in their mindset. Many frontline supervisors in traditional organizations are, simply put, the best of the bottom line. They are not promoted to a supervisory role because they exude some mystical charismatic qualities; they are just the best at what they do and thus, the traditional organization believes that the best worker will inherently be the best suited to supervise the workforce. This is where traditional thought is flawed.
New frontline supervisors have typically been accustomed to being another cog in the wheel. With their new leadership responsibilities, they must shift their mindset and actions to not only maintain their role as a cog, but rather expand their abilities to be the crank driving the wheel. The function of the frontline supervisor becomes more focused on delegation and coordination rather than carrying out the grunt work of the daily minutiae. Instead of being responsible for solely their own actions, frontline leaders are now accountable for more than just themselves.
Below are 4 key leadership skills that successful frontline managers exercise:
1. Be Accountable: Move towards the “we” attitude
2. Be Approachable: Move towards an “open door” policy
3. Be Appreciative: Appreciate the efforts of your subordinates
4. Be Accommodating: Adapt to the learning/working styles of your subordinates
Photo Credit: Library of Congress