With more than six million employees in managerial roles across the UK, line managers are an essential aspect of workplace structure. They ensure the daily running of a group or department and they’re also dependable employees who know how to get results for your business.
Of course, there's always room for development. So, we’ve listed six important skills line managers should have to get the most out of their team and your business.
- Focused Leadership
- Strong Communication
- An Approachable Attitude
- Empathy and Care
- Organisational Thinking
- Decisive Decision-Making
1. Focused Leadership
Leadership skills are essential for any manager to possess. When overseeing the daily operations of a department or team, a line manager must make sure everyone is on course to achieving their goals. This includes allocating workloads and answering any initial concerns or questions an employee may have relating to work.
Developing these leadership skills as soon as possible is vital when starting in any management role. Being a leader means being assertive, clear, fair and professional in your approach. Employees must respect their managers and see them as dependable team members to turn to when they need any assistance or advice with work.
2. Strong Communication
Having the communication skills to work with different company members is crucial to a manager's overall success. Strong communication ensures a strong workforce and is part of overall leadership quality.
This includes listening and understanding the needs and the goals of a team, as well as upper management. A line manager acts as the middle man between leadership and departments, working closely to collect feedback from both.
Line managers should ensure their teams are happy and working towards their goals, rather than just telling them what to do. Having the power to boost staff morale and satisfaction is essential for staff retention rates — this is what a line manager should achieve in their role. With a strong manager at the helm, all teams can produce strong results for your business.
3. An Approachable Attitude
It was revealed that one in three workers feel uncomfortable approaching their manager with problems at work. This isn’t good for staff morale and can make employees feel isolated in their roles with no one to turn to.
A line manager must have good listening skills and a knack for problem-solving. By coming across as approachable and friendly, a manager can develop a good rapport with their team and get the best out of them. This is good for progression, but productivity can also increase with strong working relationships.
Being approachable also means having a proactive approach to employee development. A line manager should be supportive of their teams; empowering each individual’s growth and success equally.
4. Empathy and Care
It’s also vital that a line manager is trained to handle personal requests with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity. It’s important to remember that we’re all human beings and times can be tough, whether this is bereavement or a life event.
A good line manager recognises this and promotes the wellbeing of their colleague first while still maintaining a professional stance.
Mental health issues are a major cause of long-term absence from work. If a line manager notices someone struggling, they should reach out and support them. Being compassionate towards an employee can provide a safe space for them and reduce stress when it comes to workload.
5. Organisational Thinking
Organisation is one of the main responsibilities in line management. A manager must plan their schedule ahead of time to direct their team in the most productive and clear way. This includes:
- The delegation and allocation of tasks: A line manager should make sure everyone is allocated tasks fairly and equally depending on their roles. This is to reduce stress and overworking individuals in the team
- Training sessions: Training should be regularly encouraged to boost and develop skills. A good line manager will identify areas of improvement and support growth to benefit the employee and business
- Regular 1:1 reviews: Feedback is essential in line managing. Without this, employees won’t know how they’re performing and what areas to improve. This also promotes career development internally
- Result reporting: For maximum efficiency in business growth, a line manager should keep on top of results and report them to upper management in meetings. It’s important for a manager to always have their thinking cap on to improve client satisfaction and business performance
6. Decisive Decision-Making
One of the most important aspects a line manager should have is the ability to make tough decisions. They may feel it rests on their shoulders, but an integral part of this role is making strategic decisions on what’s best for the business and employees. This could mean deciding who gets a job, who gets promoted and who needs further development.
It’s common for a manager to be held responsible for any failures or mistakes in their team. As team leaders, line managers must identify any mistakes before they occur, making clear and informed choices. It’s also important they don’t show bias in their recommendations as they share feedback on an employee’s performance.
Want to Bring Out the Best in Your Manager?
By focusing on these six qualities, a line manager can encourage progress within their teams, producing impressive results for your company.
Supporting them in their training is essential for good line management. We understand how important line management is in a workplace and cover this in our ‘Leadership and Management’ brochure. Download it now to learn more about effective line management in your workplace.