Getting It All Done (Is This a Joke?)
Let’s take a quick look at the front line manager’s “job”.
The front line manager keeps the team going, knows what the team is doing at all times, knows the team members, understands the team, motivates the team, finds the answers, keeps the team organized, solves the problems, schedules the team, gets the supplies for the team, checks on the team, directs the team, gets the paperwork done for the department, listens to the employees, listens to the director, reports to the director, keeps morale up (for both team and self), and gets all directives from the boss completed. Did I mention them all? Not even close. All this, while bouncing back and forth between the employees and the boss.
But what is the front line manager position really about?
This position is the one with that has the greatest influence on the front line employees, those who have face to face contact with customers. It also is the position that generally has the least amount of support and training. More accurately, they get the least amount of training and support that will enable them to fulfill the most critical part of their mission – inspiring and coaching the front line employees to outstanding performance. Mangers often feel isolated. There are high expectations set for these managers, but they often disappoint not only upper management (stated by the McKinsey report), but themselves.
Somehow, in spite of millions of dollars spent on “training”, front line managers are not getting what they need to succeed. Often, this is the group that gets the least amount of positive attention, though they seem to get plenty of negative attention. Surely upper management realizes that an uninspired, beaten, unhappy front line manager will be hard-pressed to inspire the front line employees. It takes positive energy for that. Where is that going to come from?
I think it is a safe bet that no company is striving for mediocre, but when I look around, I see many companies settling for mediocre. Why is that? When I mention this I mean how many have seen employees smiling, asking customers if they are being helped, just taking on the solving of problems, not getting upset at customer complaints but caring that these are corrected? It must be that the decision makers, the ones who are so dissatisfied with their font line managers, simply do not know what to do that will give them the result they want.