It’s fast approaching that time of year where many businesses discuss their training plans for the coming year. Learning and development can add value to your organisation, so in a time of tight budgeting and increased competition, where will you focus your investment?  How about the hard pressed first line supervisor…

As Linda climbed into her car, she filled with the dread that had become a regular occurrence on these frosty mornings before work. Another day of staff pitching up late, spending more time at the coffee machine than their desk, and failing to hit target. But today was particularly troublesome- it was Linda’s monthly team performance review. She would have to report to her manager the missed targets and poor attendance which was bad enough – but worse her manager would ask her why it was happening, and what she was going to do to put it right.  She thought, what could she do with a team that just wouldn’t do what they were told?  After all, it wasn’t her fault that they were not a very good team. Linda took a deep breath and set off to face the music- again!

Does this situation sound familiar? How many of your supervisors are struggling to get the best from their teams?  The first line manager role is a pivotal one in most businesses.  Effective first line managers are the enablers that are key to successful delivery.  There are a lot of skills required but we’ve found that there are some core capabilities around which your first line manager development should revolve:

Many first line managers have been promoted into their jobs as a result of being a good team member.  They are not necessarily natural people managers.  Providing them with basic people management skills needn’t mean taking them off the job for long periods.  Indeed,  keeping the programmes short – half or one day at a time- and spreading the training days over a period is the best format.  This ensures their development can be supported over a long period, rather than being a short injection of knowledge…which usually doesn’t result in long term improvement.  Also, using personality profiling tools to underpin first line manager training has a massive impact on their awareness of themselves and of their impact on others.  This is key to helping them develop their approach.

Give your ‘Linda’ a Christmas gift that will keep on giving – a training plan that has effective first line manager training as a priority

Have a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year, from all of us at True North!