How to develop effective frontline leaders

by Nicky Budd-Thanos, on July 7, 2020

The Workforce Institute recently shared another podcast in their series on Being Present: A Practical Guide for Transforming the Employee Experience of Your Frontline Workforce, between the WFI and Dr. Martin Armstrong, board member at WFI and the Vice President of Payroll Shared Services at Charter Communications. In their conversation, Joyce Maroney, former Executive Director of the WFI chats with Dr. Armstrong about the critical importance of investing in the development of frontline managers.

Read on for our top three highlights and takeaways from the podcast:

  1. An overwhelming 80% of the workforce is made up of frontline leaders or the frontline employees who are managed and influenced by those frontline leaders. Unfortunately, however, these leaders only receive 20-30% of a typical company’s leadership development efforts and resources.

    This huge disparity inevitably leads to a lasting impact on the attitudes and work performance of the frontline employees these leaders are trying to manage.
  2. One quote from Dr. Armstrong that particularly stuck out to us was when he talked about the mantra at Charter Communications: “We treat customer service as if it is the product; if you’re producing a product with a fault, you’re going to recall it and fix it.”

    Dr. Armstrong further explained that over 70% of organizational change initiatives fail, after being asked what the main obstacles are to creating a company culture that is better trained and more equipped to succeed. Resistance to change can be incredible hurdles to overcome when evaluating the issues in your organization, but are absolutely critical to delivering the best possible experience and product to your customers.
  3. In her introduction to Dr. Armstrong and his chapter of Being Present, Joyce Maroney said, “Never has there been a greater need for leaders that [frontline workers] can trust and follow.” When asked about his best advice for managing a team through COVID-19, Dr. Armstrong noted how important it is that “frontline leaders exercise the art of communication... You’re leading people who have some anxiety, whether they are still working or are on the sidelines.”

    So what are the critical ingredients to this art of communication? Dr. Armstrong said, “People need hope and a good mindset - those two things control everything that we do, especially mindset.” Leading with positivity and an optimistic outlook can greatly improve employee morale - and thus improve employee satisfaction and the quality of customer service they are delivering.
    What impactful strategies do you have for developing effective frontline leaders? Let us know on Twitter! Get even more insight and actionable tips from the full podcast between Joyce Maroney and Dr. Armstrong on the Workforce Institute now.

Topics:Employee Engagement