How to design a more effective strategy for developing frontline leaders

Any organisation, whether big or small, needs highly influential and charismatic frontline leaders to succeed. These are the people who remain on the forefront and interact directly with the staff as well as team members. They actually get their hands dirty because they are responsible for the overall operations of any organisation. They receive the credit when a business is doing well but they also have to bear the brunt of senior executives if thing are not going well.

Therefore, business owners and senior executives need to formulate an effective and result oriented strategy if they want to get most of this very important community of people. They need to think innovatively and have to discard industrial age approach to develop business leaders as they are not going to produce result in the age of modern conceptual ecosystems. These ecosystems demand you to understand the concepts and be able to work with systems and therefore, you as a business owner or higher executive; need to adopt such an approach that helps frontline managers to grow into frontline leaders.

Nurture Community of Leaders:

Unfortunately, most of the higher executives still work with the old approach that is the industrial age approach and build an army of leaders. The main duty of this large number of leaders or managers is to supervise and control their subordinates, in most cases by the use of force, in order to generate more revenue for their bosses. However, the rapid changes in business world have made it compulsory for organisations to nurture a community of leaders not, armies. These leaders should try to work for the welfare and betterment of the people working under them and as a result, these people will try their level best to attain a collective goal that is the success of the organisation or business they are working for.

The Business Leaders and Gardeners:

There is nothing wrong in saying that a great business leader is just like a great gardener. In fact, your organisation and a garden have many things in common. For instance, both of them are either growing or dying. Similarly, both of them require constant attention, you might have to encounter uncontrollable situations and you reap what you saw. Therefore, a true leader and a true gardener perform almost the same duties. They have to keep their workplace running successfully while coping with the problems they might come across during their work.

Workplace Gardening Philosophy:

Keeping above points in mind, it is also relevant to discuss a very important concept that is the Workplace Gardening Philosophy. This concept will not only help organisations to develop leaders but leaders can also follow it to achieve success in their respective domains. This particular philosophy will help organisations to let teams form organically and allow people to grow at their own pace rather than intimidating them to adopt the organisational culture from the outset.
Similarly, this philosophy helps both organisations and frontline leaders to deal every person according to his nature, his strengths and weaknesses as well as his preferences. It also creates such an environment that provides everyone an opportunity to thrive and embrace the cycle of change that has become very common in today’s organisations. A great leader will always accept change rather than avoiding it because while it entails risks, it also opens the doors to boundless opportunities for him to exploit.

Formulating an Effective Strategy for Developing Frontline Leaders:

Many companies undermine the importance of formulating a strategy to develop frontline leaders that can run various aspects of their business effectively and efficiently. It is necessary to develop frontline leaders as they make 50% of your leadership team, manage almost 80% of workforce an organisation has and it is actually these people who become the senior leaders or executives in the future.
Most importantly, frontline leaders are responsible for handling both the staff and the customers at the same time and therefore, they often get in the limelight when some extraordinary thing happens. Therefore, if an organisation does not concentrate on developing frontline leaders, it is inflicting serious damage to its current as well as future interests.
In fact, it is very important to run an effective leadership development program and provide every facility to these leaders because it is the matter of company’s future. A great frontline leader will do his level best to establish the organisation on the solid grounds, enabling it survive in most adverse circumstances. Furthermore, the return on investment on any such program is also very high that is an effective leadership development program generally results in 3.5 and 2.1 time growth in revenue and profits respectively.
This is the summary of webinar, “How to design a more effective strategy for developing frontline leaders” by Karen Schmidt.

Access your Current Strategy:

There are many key questions organisations can ask themselves to access their current strategy. You need to analyse whether your current strategy is actually working or not. You can do so by analysing various issues you may face with your frontline managers such as what is their turn over in their teams or do you face any trouble in retaining them. You also need to check out why your manager are making costly mistakes frequently or why they appear stressed or unable to cope day to day issues.
Similarly, your organisation might lack in an effective system that can identify true frontline leader or junior leaders are simply not responding to their commands. Therefore, you need to overcome all these difficulties in order to formulate a strategy that produces those frontline leaders that have the ability to serve you for a long time to come.
Then, you need to ask yourself six simple questions that will help you to keep your strategy as simple as possible. These six questions are who, what, when, where, why, and how. That is, you need to identify people, whom you can train as your future frontline leaders, what qualities you want them to develop and what they need to get rid of. Similarly, it is also important for you to determine when you want people to start developing various frontline leadership skills and. Finally, you also need to ascertain why you want to launch a leadership development program and how you are going to accomplish the task.

4 steps to Focus Your Activities:
Organisations running a leadership development program can achieve more focus in their efforts if they follow the 4 easy steps that are as under.

  • The first step is planning that is ascertaining your current situation and determining future needs.
  • The second step is preparing that is creating a cohesive leadership team across all levels and transforming the culture so that it is ready to welcome new leaders.
  • The third step that is nurturing is all about delivering programs on the concepts and skills required to lead.
  • Maintaining is the last step that asserts on the importance of offer development at a higher level or in niche areas and give people access to industry experts and thought leaders.

The skill Areas to Develop:

Your budding leader program should try to develop following skills in your frontline leaders.

  • Your frontline leader must understand what his role in the organisation is.
  • Secondly, the leadership program should help frontline leaders to develop right mindset.
  • He should be able to adopt a right leading style.
  • He should improve his communication abilities as a leader.
  • He should continuously develop and grow as a leader.

It is also worthwhile to mention that your program should focus on future, not the past if you want to make it more effective. It should enhance soft skills rather than hard skills and should help your leaders to learn journeys, not events. Finally, your leadership program must enable frontline leaders to lead not manage people working under them if they really want to thrive while taking the organisation they are working for to the next level of success.

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