What Managerial Roles Does a First-Line Manager Need?

First-line managers play vital roles in any organization. They supervise employees and report to senior managers about the day-to-day operations of the business. If you're looking to hire a first-line manager or promote an existing employee, be sure to clearly outline the responsibilities and required skills so that they are set up to succeed.

First-Line Manager Responsibilities

The primary function of first-line managers is to oversee their department and its employees. They are responsible for ensuring that their team meets the objectives of the organization, according to Lumen Learning. They are deeply connected to business operations because they work directly with frontline or junior-level employees.

One of their responsibilities is to work with their department to set goals and develop operational plans to achieve them. They may be involved in setting targets, tracking metrics, developing schedules, and making sure employees are staying on track, according to State University.

Part of their role involves communicating regularly with middle managers or executives and keeping them up to date on the progress of their department or project. If a team is running behind schedule, the first-line manager informs their supervisor and works to get the project back on track.

First-line managers may also be involved in the hiring, onboarding and training of employees. They may lead training on specific tasks, projects or technology to ensure that their team has the information they need. First-line managers usually conduct performance evaluations for each of their team members and provide suggestions on areas of improvement.

Offering motivation, encouragement and support to their team members is also an essential part of the role. First-line managers are also responsible for liaising with other departments to ensure that the company’s objectives are all aligned.

First-Line Manager Skills

A first-line manager needs excellent communication skills. They explain the company's goals in terms that their team can understand and relate to. First-line managers also break down complex schedules or detailed instructions into information that their team can apply to day-to-day operations. Conversing with upper management means that first-line managers need to be proficient in business terms and confident when discussing metrics, profits and productivity.

The Center for Creative Leadership believes that one of the most important competencies a first-line manager needs to master is the ability to motivate others. The key function of their role is to ensure their team effectively completes its tasks to achieve company goals. If the employees are not inspired or motivated, their productivity may suffer. As a result, first-line managers should recognize and reward their team members' contributions and motivate them to excel with incentives.

Excelling as a First-Line Manager

The manager's performance is tied to their team's performance, notes Business Insider. First-line managers need to shift their focus to helping their team succeed, which, in turn, helps them succeed. In addition, first-line managers need to be agile and flexible. When the directives they receive from executives change as a result of market shifts, a first-line manager must quickly develop a new plan and implement it with the team. They also help their employees understand objective changes and how they affect day-to-day operations.

A successful first-line manager exemplifies model behavior and takes deadlines and production schedules seriously to show the team how important it is to complete their tasks on time. The quality of the team's work is influenced by the quality of the first-line manager's work; managers cannot cut corners when working on a project. A top manager definition includes being willing to learn about new processes and resources and listening to feedback from junior employees.