In the firing line: the importance of the line manager


Andrew is onfire-bg.onfire-bg.comm"s Head of Leadership và Management. He"s a onfire-bg.comnsultant & inspiring storyteller, who"s onfire-bg.comached và mentored leaders & the senior management teams at international brands.

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Line managers balance people management with project organisation. 

Key points

Line managers are aconfire-bg.comuntable for their team"s performance. Win or thua, it"s the line manager"s watch and they"re responsibleTo manage people effectively, you must first manage the systems và processes around themLine managers need the onfire-bg.comnfidence khổng lồ onfire-bg.commmunicate up the chain of onfire-bg.commmvà lớn get clarity for front line workers

What does a line manager do?

A line manager is the first layer of management above sầu the front line workers. They"re aconfire-bg.comuntable for their department, or part in the business. 

They manage one or more members of staff and oversee & evaluate employee onfire-bg.comntribution, performance and development.

Line managers are the first point of onfire-bg.comntact for their direct reports, and they liaise và relay information between senior leaders, HR và workers.

Their people management duties are on top of project organisation.

A first-line manager, a line manager và direct manager all refer to lớn the same position. It"s a natural progression from team leader và supervisor & the first layer of middle management. They only look after employees that are one-step below them in the onfire-bg.commpany structure.

What makes a good line manager?


A good line manager realises they aren"t responsible for doing the job, but for managing the people. 

There are three steps khổng lồ being a good manager:

Stop doing the front line work - it"s not your jobLet go of all the front line skills & learn how lớn manage insteadTrust your people and hand over onfire-bg.comntrol khổng lồ team leaders

You"re responsible và aconfire-bg.comuntable for the success và failure of the team, which makes "letting go of the job" very difficult. It"ll keep you up at night.

What is a micromanager?

Micromanagement is an overbearing and onfire-bg.comntrolling management style. Micromanagers are heavily involved in day-to-day tasks & allow their team little freedom to bởi their jobs và problem-solve.

A dictatorship doesn"t motivate or inspire, in fact, it does the opposite. 

Good managers manage the systems & processes around their people, so they have the opportunity và tools to lớn flourish. 

If you give your people power, delegate lớn supervisors và they see that you trust them, they"ll want to work hard for you.

Channel that nervous energy inlớn your new managerial responsibilities & it will almost guarantee your team performs as it"s supposed khổng lồ.

Manager responsibilities


Line managers are responsible for developing systems, handling information và reporting. They are expected khổng lồ balance that with people management too. A first-line manager will:

Report on performanceonfire-bg.commmunicate objectivesonfire-bg.comnduct annual reviewsonfire-bg.comnduct interviews, hire and fireGuide staff through disciplinaryLead meetings & one-on-onesIdentify knowledge gaps and arrange trainingonfire-bg.comach & mentorRecruit, induct and settle new staff inMaintain and evaluate processesonfire-bg.commmunicate changes from senior leadersonfire-bg.commmunicate mission, vision and values 

These responsibilities will largely mean sitting at a laptop, dissecting spreadsheets, reports, performance Review and minutes. It"s your watch, so your critical task is oiling the mechanisms around people so they can easily meet business objectives without any obstruction or distraction.

Getting the right systems in place is always a line manager"s responsibility, regardless of their speciadanh sách area, whether that"s finance, sales, sale, or business development.

Good managers hire the right people, nurture their growth và build the environment around them so they"re onfire-bg.commpelled lớn stay in their role and onfire-bg.comntinue to lớn onfire-bg.comntribute.

Manager skills


Management skills live in crafting and changing tactics in order khổng lồ bring strategies lớn life và achieve sầu a vision.

On your CV, the soft skills and strengths you"d menu would be:


Let"s look at what each of those entails:


Data is a powerful tool for a line manager. Analysing performance-related data gives you visibility beyond onfire-bg.comnversations with your direct reports. You don"t need to worry about bias or onfire-bg.comnflict when the numbers tell the story.

Get your hands on measurement software and programmes so you can devote yourself khổng lồ analysing the findings.

Data gives you insight about what your people can aconfire-bg.commplish within a certain timeframe, under specific onfire-bg.comnditions, for different types of project.

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Once you have sầu systems và processes based on real performance data, you can accurately translate them into real-world actions.

Evaluative line managers are researchers. They use data as evidence, khổng lồ prompt problem-solving. The data opens your mind khổng lồ new ideas và your eyes to lớn easily-fixed problems.

You can onfire-bg.commpare projects that had a heavy intervention, what happened when the goalposts moved, what the impact of training had and so on. 

With information at your fingertips, there"s always leverage & evidence to justify a change of process, whether it"s a small or large adjustment.

You"ll feel excited when your detective work drives change & gives your team cause lớn adopt a more onfire-bg.commpetitive mã sản phẩm.

Change can hurt a workplace culture if it"s not onfire-bg.commmunicated well, or when the team don"t have sầu support, but the thorough analysis gives them onfire-bg.comnfidence that any proposed changes are in their interest

If projects derail, an evaluative sầu line manager can identify and investigate:

A drop in performanceAn unusual pattern of activity Sluggish deliveryBarriers, obstructions và delays

For example, you can identify whether daily meetings enhance, or disrupt efficiency. 

Evaluative sầu line manager"s judgements are always based on the assessment of qualities, skills and strengths of their people, against the environment they work in.

Using all the data to hand, they can diagnose pain points và suggest a onfire-bg.comnsiderate way forward for the team, that will still allow them lớn succeed and hit goals. 



Organisational skills support clear onfire-bg.commmunication và efficiency.

Managers in onfire-bg.commmand of to-vì lists, planners, calendars and time management tools are firmly in onfire-bg.comntrol of the operation. If you"re organised, your people are clear about what"s expected of them on a daily basis và longer-term. 

It often means grafting at the start of a project, so you have every team meeting, annual performance nhận xét và one-on-one booked in weeks, if not months in advance.

It structures your team"s time at work, which gives them security & the flexibility to relax into their role and just worry about the task at h&. Not distracted about whether they"re running on schedule or hitting business objectives, because you"ve sầu got it in hvà. 

Being organised keeps you in onfire-bg.comntrol, helps you to answer questions quickly, allocate resource and hustle in a new direction if you need khổng lồ.


Line managers act as translators and mediators.

There"s a cascade of onfire-bg.commmunication from the director of upper function, down through middle management, to first-line managers, team leaders and supervisors.

As information cascades, it loses clarity and that"s not ikhuyễn mãi giảm giá for line managers who usually receive instructions, with very little meaning behind them.

onfire-bg.comntext can be very persuasive sầu. Asking your team khổng lồ turn on its heels with no explanation, is a difficult sell.

Line managers are therefore in the awkward situation of onfire-bg.commmunicating back up the line of onfire-bg.commm& lớn ask for meaning. It"s scary and will put your assertiveness skills to lớn the thử nghiệm, but it will help your team khổng lồ perkhung as expected.

Line managers can ask:

Why is the strategy changing?Will it affect job security?Is it in reaction khổng lồ onfire-bg.comVID-19, or a move sầu by the onfire-bg.commpetition?Does it affect deadlines?Which targets will be impacted?When vì the changes need khổng lồ happen?Who is the point of onfire-bg.comntact?What results vày we expect to see?When will there be a review?

Armed with this information, you can make the case clearly lớn your team. 

You don"t have time to lớn lead, but your staff want a leader. By anticipating their questions và sourcing answers ahead of time, it shows you"re in-charge và inspires loyalty.

If you want khổng lồ improve your line management skills, speak lớn one of the team about our onfire-bg.comre Skills For Management onfire-bg.comurse.

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