But these crucial people often feel disconnected.
“We weren’t aiming for the top,” says one supply-chain manager, “but we had ability and ambition … and we felt ignored.”
Front-line managers often are thrown into a leadership role without knowing how to manage people or where to go for advice. At best, they might get a one- or two-day seminar with no follow-up.
Unfortunately (for them and us), first-level leaders need to understand the whole organization, yet they rarely are let in on the big picture.
Every one of your front-line leaders should be able to answer “Yes” to these questions:
- “Do I have the basic skills to stay on top of our day-to-day business? Do I have the tools I need to do this job?”
- “Am I aware of our organization’s direction? In other words, do I understand our strategic thinking?”
- “Do I understand that our brand is more than a logo—that it actually represents our values, the role we play in the community and our ability to enter new markets?”
- “Do I have the skills and support I need to face our leadership challenges? Meaning, can I be the kind of person I need to be in this job?”
- “Do I receive enough support from the organization to make the right choices about my life and work? Does it support my growth and its own?”
— Adapted from “Developing First-Level Leaders,” Andreas Priestland and Robert Hanig,” Harvard Business Review.