How A Recession Could Affect Your Front Line Leaders

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How can a recession affect your front line leaders?

Today we need to look at how a recession is affecting front line leaders. We will also give you some tips for how you can increase the effectiveness of your leaders even when there’s a business downturn. 

Can You Prepare For A Recession And How It Affects Your Front Line Leaders? 

Is there a way to prepare my leaders for a slowdown or a recession because we’re not sure what the outcomes are?

The truth is front line leaders need to be prepared to work as you downsize or rightsize your workforce. 

It’s not something you want to leave to chance. Inevitably, there are ups and downs. If your organization is entering a soft period, then you will need to prep your supervisors for how to deal with that.

Restructuring And Downsizing A Workforce

One group of supervisors we worked with in one of our client locations was really struggling about how they would deal with the fact that they were going to go through some form of restructuring and downsize about 15% of their workforce. 

They couldn’t even fathom how they would redo their work processes to deal with having fewer workers. 

By helping them through some critical thinking skills, we really helped prepare them to think through how they could meet the slightly lower production numbers with slightly fewer team members. 

Here are a few tips for how you can help your leaders get prepared, and basically how a recession affects front line leaders:

Tip #1: Clarify The Right Amount Of Labor

A lot of times, when an organization is going through a growth cycle, additional resources are added. Likely not fast enough. Which then leads to team members becoming overworked and stressed. As the orders start to soften, you’ll find that people are getting caught up and less stressed.

What this likely tells you is you may be carrying a little bit more labor than you need to. As a management team, you want to educate your leaders to understand that there is this labor mix based on sales flow.

As the order quantities drop, you will need to adjust the labor down accordingly. Not only will you not become profitable, you risk losing more money. Ultimately, it will put the success of the organization in jeopardy. Clarify what the right amount of labor is and explain it to the front line leaders so they understand it. 

Tip #2: Think Through Your Options

We often set up these work and production cells to deal with a certain number of workers, and maybe now we have to rethink that.

Thinking through the different options and alternatives is helpful as we think about how we’re going to reallocate the labor resources within the department. 

Tip #3: Make Changes And Adjust As Needed

People can get very judgemental. The reality is, we don’t know these things for absolute certainty. 

What you need to do is: 

  • Truly enjoy what you do with any other change
  • Go in with a curious and open mindset
  • View it more as an experiment

Keep in mind that even when you do lay it out, it won’t always work out the way you hoped. Which leads to you needing to make another adjustment.

If you don’t get defensive, you will realize that we don’t know how to do all this exactly right the first time. Let’s just keep tinkering with it–it’s normal. We thought we knew what we needed, it turns out we need to change it a little bit more.”

If you can be that kind of agile leader who is capable of bouncing around and having things right over time, that’s all you can ask for in an organization.

Investing In The Skills Your Leaders Need For Future Growth

Have you thought about how your organization should be positioned for future success? 

Investing in the skill sets of your front line leaders is a great way of building your organization’s capability for future growth. 

That’s where we come in with our Front Line Leadership Training Program. It’s a three-day program, or you can choose six half-days.

Available in English, Spanish or French. 

It can be delivered in-person or on-site for your organization. We also offer public workshops, also have some on-demand offerings, and we can do the delivery through our virtual training studio on a live basis in a very interactive way. 

Figuring out what is the best solution for you means a visit to our website at There you can check out the different topics and alternative options for how we can partner with you. 

Once we do our first project together, like most of our clients, you’re going to see how well it worked. Together we will increase the capability of your leaders.  This will allow them to deliver higher performance from an operating basis, but also higher-than-ever employee engagement.