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Four Ways CEOs can Maximize the Power and Potential of Frontline Managers

3 minutes, 12 seconds read

Frontline managers play a key role in the success of a company. These frontline managers include shop floor supervisors, leaders of sales or R&D teams, and restaurant or call center managers. 

Along with many other types of managers, these frontline supervisors make up around 60% of a company’s management ranks. They are responsible for day-to-day operations and also directly oversee around 80% of employees in their company. Yet, these managers are often ignored and neglected by the CEOs of their organizations. 

Few CEOs take it upon themselves to mobilize this large portion of their workforce. Aside from performative measures such as speeches or “management by wandering around,” CEOs hardly interact with frontline managers. Here are 4 ways a CEO can maximize the power and potential of their frontline managers. 

Leading from the Front

CEOs need to lead from the front. This involves freeing up time and attention to interact with frontline managers and choose managers to serve as leverage points of the organization.

Although this can seem like a big shift for a CEO, tapping into the latent power of the frontline helps build a more resilient and successful organization.

Engaging in Regular Interactions

The first thing a CEO can do to begin leading from the front is to make time for regular interactions with frontline managers. These managers provide a valuable, hands-on perspective often overlooked by higher-ups. 

These interactions don’t have to disrupt schedules either. A meeting with frontline supervisors can be folded into routine site visits already planned by the CEO. Frontline managers should be a priority when visiting various company operations worldwide. 

By routinely visiting a variety of frontline operations, the CEO learns the perspectives of every employee working for their organization.

Resolving Frontline Issues

When engaging with frontline managers, a CEO should be open to listening to the issues proposed by the manager. Although they may seem trivial, these frontline issues are incredibly important to the success and productivity of the organization.  For example, if a frontline worker discovers a new solution to make production more efficient, it can maximize time and save the company thousands in the long run. By serving as the foundation of the production process, small changes in frontline efficiency can affect the entire company, making them a key part of any organization. 

If a certain group is facing an issue on the frontline, a CEO should be ready to get deeply involved in their work. By focusing on these issues at the source, disruption can be halted before it affects the entire organization. Once the issue has been properly resolved, the CEO can return to a schedule of routine visits. 

Maintaining Balance in Power

A CEO shouldn’t be interacting with these frontline managers alone. By exposing senior managers to frontline perspectives, frontline workers gain a louder voice in the decision-making process. Although the frontline workers aren’t necessarily given new decision rights, they now have a powerful representative with their best interests in mind. 

While empowering the frontline, it is vital that middle managers don’t feel undermined by leading from the front. By creating a balance between managers of all levels, each perspective can be considered equally in comparison to one another.

By following these 4 methods, a CEO can increase their company’s efficiency and boost the morale of their entire workforce. Leading from the front and boosting the voices of the frontline is vital to creating a culture of continuous improvement. At Rever, we believe in the untapped ideas and perspectives of frontline workers, and Rever enables anyone to discover, test, and implement new ideas to achieve operational excellence. Request a demo or learn more here.

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