A survey conducted by McKinsey verified some things that CMOE already knew:

  • Senior leaders are looking for ways to increase performance on the front lines.
  • Front-line leaders have conflicting priorities that contribute to their underperformance.
  • Training for front-line managers is lacking at many companies.
  • Developing and empowering front-line leaders increases team-member productivity, reduces turnover and absenteeism, and contributes to the bottom line.

At CMOE, we know that team leaders drive value and make a real difference to the business’ profitability.  They are the lynchpins of the organization, and they also act as a conduit: They touch everything that happens in the organization in some way.

Because they occupy such a crucial position in the organization, it’s essential for them to develop the skills needed to respond to direction from upper management and align their team with the organization’s strategy—but they also need to know how to communicate with the workforce, listen to their feedback, unleash team-member motivation and ingenuity, and provide clear direction to their people.  When front-line leaders aren’t operating at full capacity, the growth potential and long-term success of the business is limited.

The McKinsey report indicated that nearly 70% of senior executives were only “somewhat satisfied” or “not at all satisfied” with the performance of their companies’ front-line managers. With that kind of feedback, developing the skills of this important population of leaders is obviously a key consideration.

Professionals responsible for learning and skill development in the organization need to honestly assess their current approach to learning and ask themselves, “Is this group being provided with opportunities to learn effective leadership behaviors and essential teamwork principles?  Have they been equipped with the tools and resources they need to help them succeed as leaders, or are they being left to figure things out through trial and error?”

Supervisor DevelopmentIn addition to these other areas of focus, the McKinsey report also identified a huge barrier to improving the effectiveness of front-line managers: how their job is structured.

Once again, this isn’t news to us at CMOE, and it’s clear that organizations need to address this critical area of focus using a different solution and a new process.

At CMOE, we’ve discovered that providing short learning experiences that expose front-line leaders to critical topics on a consistent basis produces extraordinary results.  There are three important aspects of this approach to development that illustrate why it works so well for front-line leaders:

  1. Timing
    Team Leaders and Supervisors are responsible for meeting the day-to-day demands of working on the front lines of the organization and are always pressed for time. Creating compact, easy-to-swallow learning modules that don’t take hours away from the job is essential.
  2. Topics
    Front-line leaders deal with a unique set of leadership challenges and requirements, so their development must focus on topics that speak to their issues—not the issues of middle- or upper-level management.
  3. Delivery
    To be effective and cost efficient, a Supervisor Development program should be built around practical skillsets, hands-on learning opportunities, and consistent reinforcement, all of which will increase retention and minimize the learning curve.

If your organization agrees with the nearly 70% of those that are dissatisfied with the performance of their front-line leaders, CMOE can help.  We have been providing customized learning solutions to some of the world’s best-known companies for over 35 years.

Our highly-personalized Supervisor Development modules cover a wide variety of essential topics and have been proven to generate bottom-line results using a series of manageable, 90-minute courses.  This innovative approach to skill development gives front-line leaders across the business the tools and resources they need to be successful—and to help the larger organization reach its goals.

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About the Author
Emily Hodgeson-Soule
Emily Hodgson-Soule has worked with CMOE since 2009 and is the Director of Program Design and Development. She holds a Master of Professional Communication (MPC) degree with dual emphasis in writing and multimedia. Emily works closely with CMOE’s client organizations to assess their internal training and development needs and provide learning solutions that fulfill the requirements and the strategic goals of each organization.

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