At a workshop HFL hosted recently, one of our clients beautifully summed up the rather stressful role most front line leaders are given.
“We take the least experienced leaders in the business - often people with no experience - and we give them a team of people to manage that is far too large...And then we tell them, with little or no support to 'get on with it'!"
Everyone at the workshop – mostly L&D professionals – laughed, and then agreed.
Another client added: “And then we tell them, Oh, sorry, the work load has increased, and you’ll need to get it done with fewer resources.”
In our experience this is the typical predicament most front line leaders face.
So how can you support your front line supervisors / team leaders, and what are some rules to successful execution in this arena?
• Make it super practical, give them “news they can use” – never mind the theory or death by PowerPoint, front line leaders want pragmatic solutions to problems they face every day with their team.
• Make it short, sharp, interactive, and visual – most front line leaders come from the video-bite generation, and learn by experimentation and group chatter. The trainer at the front of the room doesn’t cut it anymore – they want to understand and experience what works, not be told about it.
• Make a journey not an event – easily digestible chunks of learning spread over a year, work far better than a one off two day workshop at this level. Follow up and further support is very important for sustainable change.
• Make sure senior leaders are heavily involved – junior leaders love exposure to senior leaders, and ensuring the senior leaders demonstrate that they know how important (and how difficult) leading at the front line is, is often the difference in getting buy-in. And, in our experience, once senior leaders are exposed to the raw talent and energy on the front line, they volunteer to attend then next event.
Learning from the research we have conducted among front line leaders, HFL has developed a distinct offering for this group called FASTLEAD. More details may be . FASTLEAD is a curriculum-based small group coaching program. At the beginning of this year, we have 15 clients using FASTLEAD pods as both a tactical and strategic solution to developing front line leaders.