A new Harvard report highlights just how important frontline managers are – and the limited training and development they usually receive. We take a look at the findings.
The Harvard Business Review Analytics Service report shows that:
- 77% of respondents felt frontline managers were ‘mission critical’ in helping the business achieve its goals
- 12% said their organisation invested enough in the development of its frontline leaders
- only 40% of frontline managers get the support they need to succeed
The study clearly shows this essential group – who are responsible for 70% of the workforce – are not being given the tools and training they need to get the results expected of them.
The report emphasises that no matter how flat or hierarchical your business structure, your frontline managers are all important if you want to achieve your goals.
So the question is, why are these linchpin leaders so unsupported? For starters, training and development tends to be top-down in many organisations, with the top executives receiving the most investment. By the time you get to the frontline, managers are more likely to be sent on sporadic bursts of generic leadership training but miss out on ongoing mentoring and coaching.
The other perceived barrier was cost. But that just doesn’t stack up when you think how important these positions are. Creating inspiring leaders out of frontline managers calls for regular and relevant development, especially given the fact that having a poor relationship with one’s manager is one of the top reasons people quit their jobs, costing organisations dearly.
Effective frontline leaders are also key to driving customer satisfaction and productivity, so the business case is there for investing more.
The Harvard report “Stuck in the Middle – The low-down on frontline development” struck a chord with me because of its common sense as well as its alignment with TakeON!,
which is an innovative and flexible new approach that equips frontline managers to become more effective leaders and to drive continuous improvement within their teams.
for more information on how to get the most from the investment you do make in frontline leadership development.