Why Your Front Line Leaders Need To Care About Employee Performance

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Why do your frontline leaders need to care about employee performance? By investing in the training, you can actually improve your manufacturing operating performance.

Are Your Leaders Positively Impacting Operating Results?

Many frontline leaders don’t possess the critical leadership skills that they need to affect a positive impact on operating results. As a result of that, you aren’t going to see the kind of gains that you could have if you had better and stronger leaders in place.

It is important to remember that frontline leaders are interacting with and leading 80% of your workforce. If you can get even one well-placed, well-trained leader in a group, it can help elevate the performance in that department. 

One VP of operations, that we know, was really scratching his head. He had been brought in to make changes happen and had great ideas that he had learned from his previous employer. 

When he came to this particular company he experienced two things:

  1. The concepts he offered to the group were not understood because the team was not familiar with some of the fundamentals or the basics.
  2. They took the ideas and tried to force them down through the work group. This only caused excess resistance.

As a result, he recommended that the team needed these skills to carry messages down to the floor. Thus removing the “bottleneck” in order to make improvements. 

How You Can Improve the Operating Performance

Tip Number One: Make Sure Your Team Competes Against Its Potential, Not Each Other 

This is a common trap because most managers tend to be very competitive by nature. Sometimes the reason they are interested in being promoted is that they think team members will reach their full potential if you create these internal rivalries between employees or departments.

The reality is that a select few will get really hyper competitive. Consider for a moment the most competitive people you know. They want to win at all costs! What ends up happening is they look at ways to game the system or sometimes even to cheat and that is not what you should be looking for.

It also does not do you much good to see one shift trying to beat another in its production numbers, only to find out that the next day it flips around the other way. 

What you really need to ask is:

  • What is the potential of the work group? 
  • Does the work group understand and can they compete against their own potential?

Tip Number Two: Clarify The Expectations

It is a surprise for a lot of leaders to find out that many of the employees do not clearly understand what is expected of them. 

In our book Employees Not Doing What You Expect, chapter one explains that half of the reasons people do not meet expectations is because they do not understand what those expectations are. This could be as simple as not understanding what the capability is of the equipment or the work processes that they are managing and running every day. 

It is crucial that you make sure as a management team to develop your supervisors so that they can clarify the expectations in a way that helps their people understand what winning is every day.
It is crucial that you make sure as a management team to develop your supervisors so that they can clarify the expectations in a way that helps their people understand what winning is every day. Click To Tweet

Tip Number Three: Coach For Performance 

Coaching for performance means identifying what the gaps are between what we would like to see and what we are actually seeing. Then try using those coaching conversations to move the needle forward. 

If you assume that most employees want to do a good job and want to meet your expectations, but they are just not sure or not aware of how some of their actions, are either contributing or acting as a barrier to generating those results, you can use coaching conversations to move it along.

When we say “coaching” we are not suggesting a form of corrective discipline. Even corrective discipline should be done in a positive way. The coaching conversations we recommend are the ones where you are making observations like:

  • What are people doing now?
  • Is there something else they could be doing?
  • How can they close those gaps?

Just a note about gaps as we bring this leader feeder to close: Anytime you try to turn around the operating performance in a manufacturing facility and improve employee performance, you will tend to focus on the gap between what you are seeing and what you would like to see. 

It is very important for building on positives and momentum that you take a look at the gains that are being made. Don’t just focus on the gap (because there will always be a gap). Next time try asking yourself if you can help celebrate the gains which can nourish your people to go forward in their journey.
Coaching for performance means identifying what the gaps are between what we would like to see and what we are actually seeing. Click To Tweet

Investing In Other Leadership Capabilities

What happens after you master how you are managing employee performance and achieving the manufacturing operational outcomes that you are looking for? You may to want to invest in some of your other leadership capabilities. 

We have a world-leading Front Line leadership program. Now available in French, English, and Spanish to help your supervisors get the skills that they need. 

It all starts with a conversation and you can do that by visiting our website at uniquedevelopment.com. You can also join our community on LinkedIn or connect with us through Facebook. This way you can connect with us and other like-minded leaders in developing leadership excellence.