5 Essential Skills for a Frontline Manager

by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: March 10, 2016

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Frontline managers form the backbone of many companies. Supervisors, team leaders and project managers all help to keep the business running smoothly. But what skills do you need to become a successful frontline manager? Here are five essential skills...

 

1. Communication Skills

For a frontline manager, communication skills are really important. You need to be able to communicate well with your manager, but also with your team and with customers. That might involve giving bad news, enforcing rules you didn’t make and saying no to requests - and doing so in a friendly, approachable yet authoritative way.

2. Customer Service

Becoming a supervisor or team leader doesn’t mean you no longer deal with customers; in fact as a frontline manager this can often mean that you become the person customers are referred to with a complaint or problem. In that case, your customer service skills need to be even stronger!

3. Problem Solving

As a frontline manager, you will need outstanding problem solving skills. Whenever a member of staff has a problem, their frontline manager is their first port of call; and it’s your job to resolve the problem rather than having to refer it further up the chain of command. As well as this, there will also be problems coming down from management regarding your team, which you will need to resolve.

4. People Management

One of the main skills of a frontline manager is to manage the people in their team. That doesn’t mean bossing them around and barking orders, but working with them, to help them do the best possible job. This can be really tricky but it’s a fantastic skill to learn that will serve you well in all aspects of your life.

5. Team Work

Although a frontline manager is often the manager of a team, they are still a part of that team too - perhaps the most important part. As a frontline manager, it is your job to lead your team in the required direction, ensuring that every member is able to play their part. Many people will tell you that as a manager, you should never ask someone to do a job you would not be prepared to do yourself, and they are of course right. Therefore, be prepared to step down at times, to do those jobs alongside your team, in order to hit a target or clear a backlog.

Frontline managers are arguably the most important people in a business; they manage their teams to ensure the smooth running of a company and are often the voice of upper management to team members. It requires a particular set of skills to become a successful frontline manager and it can seem a daunting prospect; but with the right training and support, this can be a most rewarding and uplifting role.

Do you think you have what it takes to become a frontline manager? Leave us a comment telling us which you think is the most important skill.

 

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Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabeth Harmon

is a Social Media Consultant with a number of years of experience in the field. She has worked with a growing list of clients around the world, helping to build successful social media strategies, create effective content and much more. She is a writer and journalist for the Open Colleges Careers Blog.

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