It is not a matter of general industry, service sector, construction industry or even government employment. Front-line leadership at the workface is a major factor in every organization’s success. And all kinds of organizations struggle with hiring, retaining and developing excellence in this determining factor of performance.
In general, we promote the best technicians to supervisory roles, and then wish them well in their personal battles with the demanding and challenging realities of leadership on the front lines. This is not enough career preparation for these leaders who are truly key players in delivering the performance our organizations both measure and need to be successful.
So how can we turn our Clark Kent newbies into Superman and Superwoman performers?
First, we must recognize that for them to provide us the activities that will deliver excellence in performance we need to provide them the support it takes to develop them into competent, interactive leaders.
These attributes are not often naturally innate characteristics of the people who get promoted as a result of their technical skills. If we do not help develop the needed strengths for success, the Kryptonite of front-line stress and pressures ends up crushing the best trench warfare employees we have available.
Where to start on this journey? There are two strengths I have found to be critical starting points:
- Skill sets necessary to make the front-line hourly employees successful in their day-to-day tasks in varying work environments. This is what we must make sure our Super-visors are truly superstars in providing. They are coaches in what it takes to win our organization’s game. They must know all the plays and defenses inside and out. They must be SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) in what it takes to safely and efficiently do the tasks they are leading.
- Additionally, they must be competent in communicating what needs to be done. Interpersonal skills are a critical component with both seasoned and new employees.
How do we “Speak Up!” effectively?
How do we “Listen Up!” appropriately?
How do we provide recognition and discipline/coaching that helps our trench-level employees execute their missions flawlessly?
These two starting attributes are a must for our Super – visors if they are to lead our troops successfully in the day-to-day battles faced by organizations worldwide. Sure, there are more lessons to be learned, but without these basic foundational strengths our new Clark Kents will never survive to become Super–visors.