Organisational Fitness

3 ways to turn your line managers into change-makers

Lydia Watson

‘If you want a job done right, do it yourself”

Ah, if only life could be that simple. When you’re a business owner, C-suite member, or department head, one of your biggest battles can be accepting that you can’t do everything yourself. Learning to delegate to line managers is tricky, and getting them to carry out their tasks can be even harder – but there are three important steps you can take that will help. 

‘But why focus on line managers?

Aren’t they just there to sign off holiday requests and log sick leave? Although your line managers exist to handle day-to-day people admin, research shows they’ve got a big influence over your organisation.

Poor line management is one of the biggest contributors to work-related stress, and there are significant links to employee engagement, wellbeing, and health. And that impacts individual and team performance, impacting your organisational success. 

‘Can line managers really help improve our organisation?’

In a word, yes. They’re the fastest route to your people, passing on your own passion and vision for the enthusiasm. When it comes to how they can improve things, it’s all about improving their own team’s performance. 

As we know, happier, engaged teams are more productive – and that’s something they can directly influence. Knowing where to start is the hard part, but that’s why we recommend using smarter employee surveys. It’s a way of identifying major issues, listening to people’s opinions, and knowing what gaps need bridging. 

Once managers understand their teams’ scores and feedback, you can use them to carry out the small changes that will make things better – at an individual, team, and organisational level.

How to help managers create positive change:

1. Set them up for success

  • Give them expectations: For line managers to succeed, they need to know what success looks like. Define their role, list their responsibilities, set them key metrics, and make it very clear what you hope they accomplish with their teams.
  • Give them motivation: There’s a few ways to motivate managers – and one is giving them a sense of purpose. That means sharing the organisation’s mission and goals, and explaining how they’re a part of carrying that message forward. Get them invested. 

Setting managers up for success starts before they’re in that role. One thing we've realised, and seen in some organisations, is that when people are promoted to 'manager' it's due to their experience and expertise - rather than their people management skills.                                                 Someone can be knowledgeable and skilled at what they do, but if they don't have strong people skills then that's really going to impact the employees that report to them. Are they going to feel sufficiently supported? Are they going to feel like they can progress?

Steffi Maranan

Qlearsite Consultant

2. Set them clear actions

  • Give them the right insights: This is where we come in. Employee surveys are a key way to identify ways to improve, and ours offer a level of insight that can be matched – with dashboards that break down results by teams, so managers have a clear focus.
  • Give them measurable actions: Once managers have identified issues to focus on them, work with them to set clear actions – from a team training session, to a new process for handling workloads – and keep an eye on their progress.

3. Set change in motion

  • Give them regular nudges: Your line managers know what they need to do – it’s just remembering to act on it. ‘Nudges’ aren’t orders, just subtle reminders that trigger them to take action – it could be anything from a poster on the wall to emails to the company.
  • Give them positive reinforcement: Your line managers are employees too, and thrive off good feedback as much as anyone. If they’re doing well, tell them – not only does that let you demonstrate what being a good line manager means, it helps their wellbeing too.

Watch a demo

With our platform, you get actionable people insights. See how it works, and why it’s the secret to organisational success.

It’s time to start the conversation

You may also want to read…

7 Bell Yard

Tel: (+44) 0203 915 6200