Who Is a Front-line Leader and Who is Responsible for Growing Them?

Posted by Rapport on December 3, 2020

Group of young leaders

Within any organization, a few key people stand out. These are employees who go above and beyond for the team, who smash quotas, and whose creativity has led to improvements in the business.

As a business owner or manager, you’ve watched them excel in their current role and know they are an asset to your company. You decide to promote them to a front-line leadership position. The question now is: Do they have the skills and mindset necessary to lead others and succeed in their new role?

Front-line leaders are needed everywhere now. We can help you build them →

Who Do We Mean By "Front-line Leader?"

A front-line leader is often a star employee who has been recognized for their achievements and promoted into a new role of leadership. They are likely a first-time manager and may or may not have other employees reporting directly to them. 

If they do have direct reports, they may now be in charge of employees who were previously their fellow workers. This has the potential to be awkward or uncomfortable if not addressed. Even when there are no direct reports, they are often responsible for the work of others.

This employee has the opportunity to do great things for your organization, so you want to provide them with the tools they need to succeed!

You're a Front-line Leader if you are:

  • A first-time manager
  • A first-level manager
  • A leader without direct reports
  • A leader responsible for others’ work

The most important aspect of being a front-line leader is not the title — it’s having the mindset of a leader.

The Impact of Front-line Leaders

A front-line leader is not simply another body between the customer and those with decision-making authority. A true front-line leader is someone who has been empowered to use their discretion to make decisions and implement changes within the organization. 

While any role holds a great deal of importance, a front-line leader is on the ground, experiencing the ins and outs of the business every day. They see the challenges your customers face – both the reasons that brought them to your organization in the first place, and any bumps in the road while doing business with you. 

Front-line leaders are not forced to play a game of telephone, passing along a message to the higher-ups. Rather, they have the power to improve the organization and the organization’s culture in the moment.

Making a positive impact in those defining moments requires a period of personal growth. They not only need the right skill sets, they need the right mindset.

How to Evolve the Mindsets While Transitioning From Employee to Leader

This can be an incredibly challenging transition, from being an employee into the role of a leader. There may be loneliness, overwhelm, and they may appear to be incapable of handling the responsibilities they are holding now.  The Peter Principle expresses that: “In every hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his/her level of incompetence.”

What if we look at this principle differently? Perhaps these employees, who are entirely capable of taking on any challenge, are promoted to roles, yet not properly trained to handle those new responsibilities. 

Who is responsible for the results here? 

As we learn in our Rapport trainings, “If you don’t like the results, change the approach,” right? It’s not as catchy as The Peter Principle. However, it does give organizations and managers the power to ensure their front-line leaders succeed at the promotion they’ve earned and the job they’ve been tasked with. 

Set your front-line leaders up for success by providing the right training and leadership programs to enhance their communication skills, build their leadership capabilities, and create the mindsets necessary to be a leader.

Predictable Challenges

Front-line leaders will likely face these challenges as they step into their new positions:

  •  Feeling alone
  •  Feeling overwhelmed
  •  Feeling uncertain
  •  Unsure how to have tough conversations
  •  Unsure how to give performance reviews
  •  Unsure how to coach the team around them

Required Skills

Identifying the necessary skills for a front-line leader is the first step to ensuring they have all the tools they need to excel in their new roles. These skills include: 

  • Leading others
  • Managing change
  • Excellent communication
  • Developing and mentoring employees
  • Providing feedback designed to improve performance
  • Inspiring commitment and loyalty amongst their team
  • Motivating performance

Providing Training to Develop these Skills is the Critical Next Step

That’s why we have developed the best online courses to support your front-line leaders along their journey!

Rapport's Online Front-line Leader Series

To provide the training and support your front-line leaders need, we’ve created the Front-line Leader online series: 7 impactful courses that uncover the potential in your employee, and guide them towards delivering results. 

The Front-line Leader Series is a self-paced, online learning experience that develops the skills and trains the mindset necessary for success. It is designed for a busy lifestyle, allowing participants to work at their own pace, in whatever environment they choose. 

The series will focus on 5 Core Competencies: 

  • Focus and taking action
  • Self-confidence & unleashing potential
  • High-performance teams
  • Decision-making & accountability
  • Critical thinking & problem solving

This will help your front-line leaders build confidence in themselves and earn the trust and respect of their teams. When your front-line leaders are fully developed, your entire organization benefits!

Your Front-line Leaders Are Vital Players in Your Organization. Empower Them and Give Them the Skills They Need to Succeed

You saw the possibilities in your employees and elected to promote them to front-line leadership positions. Now is the time to provide them with the skills and training they need to carry out your goals and move your business forward. 

Register your front-line leaders today for Rapport’s Front-line Leader Series. Invest in your employees’ self-improvement, and your business’s future. It’s OK to move quickly!

Learn More About Our Front-Line Leader Certification