Who are Line Managers? What is Their Role in Employee Management?

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line manager is an employee who directly manages other employees and processes while accountable to a senior manager. Related job titles normally used are supervisor, section leader, and team leader. They are assigned with meeting business goals in a specific functional area or line of business. The line manager is responsible for managing employees to ensure successful execution of organizational goals and strategies.

Who is a Line Manager?

A line manager is responsible for overseeing and managing employees to fulfill business goals. They are the main point of contact between the management and the staff. They also provide guidance, instruction, motivation and feedback to the employees on a day-to-day basis. The responsibility of implementing strategy rests with the line managers who ensure that strategies designed by senior leadership and the management are implemented in a satisfactory manner. They’re are also in the best place to identify bottlenecks and carry out course correction in the event of deviation. Line managers need to possess leadership qualities including effective communication of tasks, listening strategy, grievances handling, and delegation.


Line managers are responsible for implementing and designing, through their resources, an organization’s policies pertaining to employees and practices in alignment with business objectives and core values.

Their main functions with regard to employees include:

  • Recruitment and selection
  • Onboarding, training, mentoring, coaching, and employee development
  • Performance management and appraisal
  • Motivation 
  • Health and Well-being
  • Team bonding

Line managers’ activities typically include:

  • Recruiting the right talent for the job
  • Training, coaching and mentoring new employees to get them up to speed at work
  • Planning the goals, objectives and tasks of their department and communicating this to employees as needed
  • Effectively communication organizational goals set by the management to the employees
  • Managing the resources within their control (e.g., staff time; finance) to fulfill the objectives set
  • Ensuring compliance with organizational policy and legislation
  • Providing blueprint, guidance and plan to their teams
  • Scheduling regular meetings with staff members to discuss progress and any bottlenecks
  • Measuring performance metrics against set expectations and taking corrective actions where necessary
  • Ensuring quality standards are maintained at expected levels
  • Evaluating employee performance and providing performance appraisals
  • Motivating and engaging the employees in a timely manner so as to ensure productivity
  • Providing reports on performance and goals to higher authorities

An efficient line manager is hands on with their team on a daily basis with the implementation of organizational strategy, giving guidance, resolving bottlenecks, providing motivation, measuring performance, analyzing reports and taking corrective action in the event of deviation. Line managers directly influence employee satisfaction and engagement and, as a result, organizational productivity.

While top level management is responsible for formulating organizational strategies, the task of implementing the strategy happens at the grass root levels of an organization. Line managers assigned with making sure that strategies are implemented at lower levels are in the best place to measure performance, identify bottlenecks with the strategy execution programs and resolve issues to meet goals in a timely manner.

Research has also shown that employee engagement is higher when responsibility for sustaining it is spread throughout an organization. When companies take proactive steps to help line managers recognize employees, they are more likely to reap rewards in the form of better employee productivity, improved customer service, revenue growth and return on working capital, according to a new executive briefing released by Madison Performance Group. The paper offers specific strategies companies can use to support a front line manager’s role in enterprise wide engagement efforts.

The relationship between line managers and employees is very important. It is often the line manager who is predominantly responsible for the mood of the team. An effective, encouraging, engaging manager can motivate the team to produce excellent results even when times are difficult. Organizations need to ensure line managers receive effective guidance, training and support from their superiors.

A successful line manager will fulfill the following responsibilities:

  • Attract and engage talent

Attracting and Engaging talent is a key responsibility that rests with the line managers. Hiring the best talent in the market place, and closing all job positions are one of their key focus areas. They also handle the training and development, of incoming talent in their respective teams.

  • Set work expectations across functional teams

Key responsibilities include defining work expectations, setting KPA’s and KRA’s for employees in the team. Continued tracking and measuring the progress of each goal. Communicating the status of each goal to the employees, resolving bottlenecks in implementing corporate strategies, analyzing reports and taking corrective action in the event of deviation and non-achievement of goals. Implementing quality controls for all processes.

  • Improve employee engagement

Line managers plays a vital role in improving employee engagement across functions teams. Corporate leaders are making more demands on managers to maintain high levels of employee engagement, and HR professionals are drawing on a variety of strategies to get managers involved in nurturing an engaged workforce. Employee engagement has a direct impact on worker performance, dedication to mission and drive in helping an organization accomplish its goals.

  • Communicate with the team effectively

Communication anywhere anytime is of utmost importance. While there may be instances where the manager might have to withhold information for reasons of confidentiality, an effective manager would always pass down relevant information to the team members. Timely sharing can go a huge way in motivating and keeping the team on the same page. Also, sharing ideas and discussing processes leads to innovation as well as helping employees to have a stake in the organization.

  • Provide relevant training

Helping employees to understand the reasons behind processes and requests is far more productive than giving orders.  Not only will this help the employee to feel responsible for the task, it will also help them to be proactive in the event of a crisis. Investing in time, money and energy to train up the team only sends across a positive vibe in the organization and can do a great deal to improve employee morale and engagement levels.

  • Create successful working relationships

It has been found that productivity dramatically increased when managers were found to spend time with their team members. When employees and managers begin to separate and not engage in the fun and little weird activities held at work, the sense of family becomes eroded, and the heart and soul of the company changes.

It has been found that 80% of the employee engagement quotient is down to the approach of their line manager. 62% of employees consider that their manager motivates and inspires them. In these days of downsizing and lean workforce, an engaged employee is an absolute must to produce results. An engaged workforce positively reflects on the line manager in charge as they have a vital role to play.



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