Maximizing the Value of Frontline Leaders

(From Human Resource Executive Online) — Recently, I had a long phone conversation with a young professional who had just been put into a managerial role. She’s a very smart, organized woman, who took on her first supervisory role when her manager left and she was asked to fill in until a replacement was found. Shortly thereafter, she was simply named manager. Typical for a tough economy, she wasn’t permitted to back fill for her prior position. A new manager in a unit she felt was understaffed, she was completely confounded by the behavior of one of her direct reports and was looking for valuable input. I think that anyone with supervisory experience remembers that first, difficult employee-relations issue you had to deal with. It’s when you first realize that all employees don’t view their responsibilities as an employee in the same way you do. You learn that, sometimes, employees reporting to you have a very different view as to what it means to be an engaged, productive and contributing worker. And it’s when you truly understand — in a very personal way — that being a manager isn’t just about a higher pay grade, greater visibility within an organization or managing a budget. It means spending time dealing with employee-relations issues, where no two are the same and they’re rarely fun. So how can HR executives maximize the value that frontline supervisors can contribute to a business? After all, frontline supervisors are closest to the largest part of the workforce, and they can have a huge impact on how well employees are working toward achieving the organization’s business strategy and goals. A recently released research report from the Institute for Corporate Productivity provides new insights — and data — HR executives should take note of. I4cp surveyed almost 300 HR and management professionals and asked questions designed to gain a better understanding of just how involved frontline managers were in their organizations’ talent-management efforts. Read more.

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