Taking a New Look at Line Management

CoachHub · 23 November 2021 · 5 min read

Whether faced with a radical transformation or a straightforward adaptation, a company relies on good managers to drive the change. Thus, if the latter has long been relegated to the simple role of messenger, this is no longer the case today. And not giving other assignments would be a big mistake. First, however, make sure beforehand that your line manager has the seven key qualities detailed below!

What are the responsibilities of a first-line manager?

A line manager, also called a first-level manager, leads and manages an operational team to achieve the goals set by management. A line manager example is to act as a “facilitator” between management, HR, and the operational workforce. And this, for better or for worse. Why? Because they have to deal with the vision of top management on the one hand and that of employees on the other.

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What is a line manager’s role, and what are the missions of the manager?

The role of the local manager is to maintain the relational dynamic necessary for the excellent development, well-being and performance of his employees. To do this, the primary mission must be to animate and motivate the team as well as to develop the skills (hard-skills and soft-skills) of the latter. More generally, his role within the company is to participate in change management.

The rise of robotization, advancement in artificial intelligence (AI), and new forms of governance mean that many believed the imminent disappearance of line managers was inevitable. However, this has not proved to be the case. With organizational transformation, the status of line managers is strengthening. They often prove to be pillars of a company’s success because their approach remains strategic.

While they are recognized for an advanced level of business expertise and excellent field knowledge, they sometimes lack the management skills to motivate and engage troops. In addition, they sometimes lack leadership, agility and initiative, qualities essential in the event of a business transformation.

In the light of significant upheavals in the world of work, the contours of the manager’s position must therefore be redesigned. First, by taking into account their participation in the performance of the company. Then, by thinking about how to contribute more. Also, what qualities must they acquire to face these new challenges?

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The essential managerial qualities of a line manager role

Quality #1: Self-knowledge

Before even trying to convince team members of the merits of a business strategy, it is crucial that the manager, who is supposed to implement this strategy, has a good level of self-knowledge. Indeed, if the line manager does not have the slightest idea of their objectives, they are unlikely to know the best direction of travel or generate good trust in management.

Are you persistent or empathetic? Directive or persuasive? Rational or emotional? Knowing your psychological profile allows you to determine your strengths and limitations and better understand your reactions to establish action plans adapted to the situations encountered.

Quality #2: Leading by example

A manager must be exemplary. Your actions must then correspond to your words. Indeed, in times of change, the slightest word or gesture can tip you into a crisis situation. And this, all the more so if the manager does not inspire confidence by a lack of consistency. Therefore, a frank and transparent speech in line with the actions remains essential to keep the teams in a dynamic geared towards collective success. Even if the strategy turns out badly, it contributes to the style of management by confidence.

Quality #3: Agility at all times

With organizations less flowing than in project management mode, the line manager plays the role of conductor. It promotes interactions between employees but also between the various self-organizing departments. Empowered, they then progress on current sites and gain skills by learning from each other.

In addition, these organizations no longer see their manager as the sole point of reference to crisis management. And for good reason, the latter was able to popularize the company’s strategy while giving meaning to the actions carried out. They then feel free to intervene, knowing that their initiatives serve the interests of the company.

Agility is worked by experimenting in the field with solutions to simplify procedures and go faster, for example, by learning to delegate missions to the most receptive employees.

Quality #4: Communication is second nature

Managing a project team involves establishing or re-establishing links with its employees. This requires active and attentive listening to their needs, their areas of motivation, and their difficulties. These exchanges make it possible to highlight their added value and put it to good use. In return, employees feel understood and valued.

A line manager must also be able to manage feedback while encouraging and subtly reframing. Whatever the context, face-to-face interview or group meeting, the words are chosen with care to qualify facts, express a feeling or an expectation, etc.

Mastering verbal and non-verbal communication, but especially non-violent communication is all the more valuable in conflict management or crisis management. And for good reason, an adequate vocabulary associated with an appropriate managerial posture avoids aggravating a situation that is primarily detrimental to the implementation of the common project and team cohesion.

Quality #5: Self-control, an essential asset

All employees must know how to manage their emotions and stress. But when he is in a managerial capacity, it is an absolute necessity. And for good reason, it is a question of credibility with its employees. Managers who lose their cool do not reassure their teams and do not fill them with confidence. To avoid unwelcome mood swings, you can present liberating and straightforward tips and management tools in professional coaching sessions.

Quality #6: Initiative and creativity released

New proximity managers innovate to best meet customer needs. For that, they must show initiative, but taking action can be tricky simply because they have long been restricted to the tasks of executives. In fact, in many structures, managers’ reluctance to delegate decision-making powers has harmed the autonomy of local managers, leading to adaptation difficulties today.

Quality #7: Flawless organization

Get organized, manage priorities better and ultimately save time. These are the challenges that any good line manager must meet to lead a team effectively! But behind these aspects, which seem simple, actually hides one of the challenges of business transformation. Indeed, by constructing an action plan as best as possible, the effective line manager not only has a clear vision of the steps to be taken but can also anticipate the consequences of their work.

Not all line managers are destined to become leaders. However, by supporting them intelligently, through training and professional coaching, it is possible to boost their emotional intelligence, thus allowing them to harness the company’s collective intelligence. Moreover, developing their managerial skills via coaching is useful for the transformation of the company as they are no longer relays of management but strong links in the system.

Empowering your line managers with the skills they need may seem like a daunting task which is where CoachHub can help. Contact us for more information about our range of business coaching and to learn about the difference between meaningful coaching vs training.

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