Front-Line Supervisors–Two Different Approaches


Here is a brief account of what employees of two front-line supervisors said about their leaders.

Josie’s staff members commented:

“Josie is available and we can go to her at any time, but she does not look over our shoulders all of the time.”

“I’ll tell you one thing; you know where you stand with Josie.  She sure lets you know when she is disappointed with you.”

“I overheard Josie talking with her peers.  She was really bragging on us.”

Crew members who worked for Alexis had different comments.

“He is on the floor all of the time.  He knows how he wants things done and he watches us like a hawk.”

“I like that Alexis is very good about recommending people for salary increases and promotions.”

“Alexis is very smart.  He can do every job out here and he can do most of them better than anyone here.  He loves to talk about the work.”

Although both groups were doing similar work in the same company, Josie’s team performed significantly better.

Research by Sartain and Baker appearing in the HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW, conclude that the more effective front-line managers:  (1) allow employees a little more freedom; (2) they are more direct with performance feedback; and (3) they talk about their employees more than the work itself.

What do you think?

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