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Frontline leadership principles and skills: what does It take to succeed?

Frontline Leadership training and development

A team is only as strong as its leader. Unfortunately, 79% of employees quit their jobs due to a lack of appreciation from leaders. Frontline leadership roles like shop-floor supervisors and operations managers are critical.

The frontline leaders in an organization shoulder a great deal of responsibility for the success or failure of the company. Therefore, they must have certain skills and abilities to do their jobs well and contribute to the organization’s overall success.

As Fred Hassan wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “It is the frontline managers who must motivate and bolster the morale of the people who do the work… These managers are central to a company’s business strategy because they oversee its execution.”

What does it take to be a successful leader? How can you help to create a positive work environment so that productivity will improve?

There are certain skills that all frontline leaders need to do their jobs efficiently. Here are five qualities you need to be an efficient frontline leader:

1. You need to be able to communicate well.

To be a good communicator, you have to be a good listener. Practice active listening, and really try to hear and understand everything you are being told. Being a good listener is a great way to establish trust and strengthen relationships.

Authenticity is an important aspect of leadership. The best, most respected leaders are down-to-earth and authentic. Employees have a solid appreciation for a leader who is genuine and honest.

2. You need to be able to adapt.

As a leader, it’s important to act quickly, to be agile when needed. No matter what organization you are in, circumstances are always going to change. If there’s one thing we have all learned in 2020, it’s how to deal with the unexpected.

A good leader will be able to adapt and adjust to changes as needed. Adaptability is an essential frontline leadership skill. A leader who can adapt to situations is open to different ways of thinking, not afraid to be creative, and tries to understand the perspectives of others.

3. You need to be able to execute tasks and achieve milestones.

Effective execution of tasks takes more than simply telling your team to “get it done.” For a leader to ensure tasks are completed, they need to create a vision and encourage the team to follow it.

It’s great to have a vision for the organization, but it will mean very little if you can’t execute that vision. So a good frontline leader needs to set milestones and understand exactly what needs to happen to achieve them.

4. You need to be able to motivate and inspire others.

There are a lot of ways to motivate and inspire your team. You can lead by example – demonstrating integrity, a good work ethic, and a positive attitude. You can offer praise and appreciation to employees who are doing great work. You can also empower team members by giving them the power or authority to do something with complete control.

5. You need to be able to contribute to a strong and positive work culture.

A positive work culture not only helps organizations to be more efficient and productive, but it can actually lead to a safer environment. 80% of work accidents happen as a result of stress from negative work cultures.

It’s absolutely crucial for a workplace to have an equitable and empowering company culture, and a frontline leader can play a big role in fostering that positive culture.

At POWERS, we understand what it takes to be a successful frontline leader, and we also know that these frontline leaders are often responsible for delivering results. Do you want to learn more about how we can help you? Reach out to us today.

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About the Author

Sean Hart


Sean Hart is an industrial engineer with a background in manufacturing supervision and project management. Sean’s background is in improving overall plant efficiencies and implementing Lean techniques to improve processes.