Assisting Frontline Staff to become successful Frontline Managers

Assisting the transition from Frontline Staff to Frontline Manager

Building on our previous article ‘5 Simple Ways You Can Support Your Frontline Managers’, today’s article takes us a step before that and looks at ways we can assist Frontline Managers actually make that difficult transition from a team member to a team leader…

Daniel McCorry

By: Daniel McCorry – July 2015

Whilst a promotion from being an ‘on the tools’ member of the frontline team to a leadership role can be exciting, it can also provide a high amount of stress and anxiety…especially if the right training and support hasn’t been provided.

This is where a good Learning & Development Manager/team can make a BIG difference… What’s all-too-often sadly lacking outside of people in the training space is an understanding of the fact that being a ‘leader’ requires more than just a fancy title and means adding a considerable level of social and commercial skills to existing technical skills – skills that can’t simply be gained ‘on the job’ (although this is obviously an important part of learning) in time to be of use, and therefore a good program (ideally BEFORE they’re promoted) such as a Certificate IV in Leadership & Management (formerly the Certificate IV in Frontline Management), in conjunction to coaching and mentoring is essential.

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The first few months of a new leadership position is normally the ‘make or break’ period in which a leader gets buy in and support from their team (or not) and the consequences of getting it wrong don’t just stop at the individual and his or her team. If done badly, it can result in disengagement, safety issues, lower productivity, and lower profits.

Key strategies that Learning and Development can implement to make the pathway from Frontline Staff to Frontline Manager include:

  • Create a clear and structure learning pathway for would-be and new leaders
  • Induct them into their role and their learning properly making sure they understand the aims, expectations, and the desired culture
  • Similarly, ensure they fully understand the organisational goals and the strategies for achieving them and how their role (and their learning) is aligned
  • Build on the excitement and enthusiasm typical in the first few weeks to ensure maximum engagement throughout their learning (and, of course, their career)
  • Provide a ‘learning sharepoint’ that allows leaders to proactively access online learning programs, webinars, articles, documents, etc rather than have to wait for the next scheduled program
  • Measure them, track progress, and provide feedback

In summary, statistics clearly show that if first-time leaders will make fewer errors, will perform better, and get better team engagement if they’re provided with the right training. However, whilst the success of a new leader/manager can be hugely assisted by their learning and development team, it needs to be more than just the provision of training programs…they need induction, support, measurement, and clarity to be truly successful!

ARTICLE WRITERS NEEDED! Do you have something you’d like to contribute to Training Matters? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Please email us at or call 0412 299 181.

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