How to Train and Monitor Front Line Supervisors
Front line supervisors are the key to improving customer satisfaction, improving staff relations and overall maintaining a smoothly operating work environment. The people who fill these front line positions are often promoted from within — they are already familiar with the work that those they manage need to do and are often highly competent in this area. However, they don’t always have the practiced management skills to effectively coordinate a team or department.
The skills your front line supervisors should have include being able to take initiative to improve performance, communicate their expectations, provide performance feedback, resolve conflicts, identify potential issues and create improvement plans to address those issues. Without adequate training, front line supervisors can slip into the bad habit of doing the job of those they supervise because they are more familiar with that type of work.
Once a front line supervisor has been placed, the first step is to offer them a mentor or other knowledgeable resource within the company. Whether it is another successful supervisor at the same level or at a higher level of management, new front line supervisors need to be given direction, encouragement and practice for dealing with situations they may be unfamiliar with. Leading a team can be stressful, especially if those you are leading were once your peers, and having a resource to discuss potential problems with is invaluable.
Training and mentoring for front line supervisors should include the basics of management such as effective communication, problem solving and conflict resolution. A comprehensive job description should include a detailed look at what the supervisor will be responsible for maintaining, as this will give them some direction on how to use the skills they have been learning. They should also be shown how to interpret any reports they will come across, and how the figures relate to their overall goals.
After the initial training, front line supervisors need to be presented with clear objectives that are meaningful and measurable. During the first few months, management should check in regularly with a new front line supervisor to determine whether they are making progress toward the objectives that have been set. If they are stuck on a stumbling block, additional training or problem solving can be implemented to both improve the supervisor’s skill set and address the issue at hand.
The information provided in this blog is intended for general information purposes only. Readers should seek the help of an HR professional for guidance on specific issues.