Fortify Your Front Line: Two Essential Leadership Skills for Supervisor Excellence

Given the extraordinary challenges organizations are facing, do you ever wonder if the supervisors and front-line leaders in your organization are prepared for what comes next? Do they have the skills and tools they need to balance achieving the organization’s goals and KPIs with effectively supporting team members as they adjust to changing conditions?

Over the last few years, CMOE has been conducting research on what it takes to be a world-class supervisor—and given the challenges organizations face, all supervisors and front-line leaders must develop the right skills, habits, and actions. What this means is that they must do more than simply show up to work and help their team members perform to expectations.

While there are many important leadership capabilities front-line leaders need, here are two essentials that leaders can implement today to increase the performance and results of their supervisors and front-line leaders.

1) Cultivate trusting relationships with your team.

Managers in warehouseWorld-class supervisors and leaders dedicate a portion of their day building trusting relationships and creating a “people first” environment. Unfortunately, supervisors and front-line leaders often get busy with daily tasks, priorities, and projects and overlook the needs of the team—which can cause team members to feel devalued and can damage trust. Years of research on this topic has taught us that trust is built on a leader’s credibility, reliability, and empathy.

How-To Tips

Spend a couple of minutes each day focusing on one team member at a time and asking yourself these questions:

  1. Am I holding a grudge or not letting go of problems or issues I have with this person? (empathy)
  2. What actions, questions, or tasks have I not followed through on with this person? (reliability)
  3. How will I provide encouragement and support or share knowledge with this person today? (credibility)

World-class leaders make the effort. They are consciously aware of the actions they take to foster a culture of trust. They demand personal improvement in areas of human interaction, and they create goals and support behaviors that bring the level of team trust to new heights.

2) Recognize team-member contributions

Supervisors and front-line leaders who are integral to the growth of team members consistently acknowledge team-member contributions and share ongoing development feedback. World-class supervisors recognize team members by providing necessary and timely feedback, sharing information, and celebrating effort and improvement.

How-To Tips

Spend a couple of minutes each day focusing on one team member at a time and asking yourself these questions:

  1. What has this person done exceptionally well in the past few days?
  2. What do I value most about this person and what does she/he mean to our team’s success?
  3. How can I specifically demonstrate my appreciation and gratitude for the strengths and talents this person chooses to give to our team?
  4. How can I communicate appreciation and gratitude that is authentic and meaningful to this person?

With various market forces at play and more challenging times ahead, supervisor and leadership development will need to be an integral part of your organization’s short- and long-term strategy. Now more than ever, organizations need to equip leaders with the mindset, skillset, and toolkit they need to maximize their contributions, drive bottom-line results, and lead the organization into the future. Building trust and recognizing team-member contributions is the first step.

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About the Author

Eric Mead

Eric is A Senior Vice President for CMOE and specializes in custom learning and development solutions, sales and marketing, and performance coaching. His work in organization development has led him to facilitate workshops on Strategic Thinking, Coaching Skills, Building High Performance Teams, Managing Conflict, Personal Effectiveness, and Leadership Principles. Eric’s expertise is in communication, relationship building, management, marketing, and advertising.