A spectacular transformation has happened within companies.
Like in the rest of society, it has become evident who the critical people to ensure productivity, well-being, and getting the job done are. And it is not the process consultants, the bureaucrats, and the bean counters. It is the people on the front-line. I call them the ‘Frontline Warriors’.
They deliver value to clients, find ways to pivot products to generate sustainable revenue flows and take decisions that matter to in split seconds. Many have worked tirelessly to make sure goods have been produced, shipped, and delivered at our doorsteps. Still, they show up each morning at work. Many with a smile.
But who takes care of these ‘frontline warriors’? – Who checks in on them to make sure they are alright? – The team manager does! Right now from the distance.
The team manager is the one, who secures the ‘frontline warriors’ are feeling well and are capable of doing their daily jobs, while not micro-managing! The person who dares to ask questions about, how you are… and then listens!
Team managers are the place for frontline warriors to:
- Get unnecessary bureaucracy removed
- Receive relevant, crisp, and clear company communication
- Make sense of what is going on in and outside the company
- Align expectations of what happens in the coming weeks and months
- Go to stay motivated
The team manager worries about and trusts their people. They check-up on the well-being of each individual frequently. They don’t hide behind a desk. They accommodate individuals’ requirements through flexible structures, so every single one can get the job done to the benefit of the organization. They find creative ways to release synergies at the local level. They make 2+2 become 5.
In recent years, team managers have not received a lot of praise.
They have been an unnecessary cost. A cost to be avoided. Consultancies have found more and more creative ways to delay hierarchies and cut out team managers in their organizational efficiency initiatives. Span-of-control became the number to increase when decisions on new organizational structures were made. Forgetting that the same organizations were made up of people. People which need to be nurtured and coached to deliver at their full potential. Just in January 2020, I heard about this as an objective in a global biotech company.
I hope those days are over!
The importance of the team managers’ ability to care for and nurture their people – the frontline warriors – has widely been ignored. Team managers have received much criticism from management consultants, executives, and employees.
But they make the world of so many hard-working people easier. Especially now. I believe the time has come to praise them, thank them and celebrate them
Who do you think needs to be celebrated?