What is “first line management”?

Published on June 29, 2017   14 min

Other Talks in the Series: The Art and Practice of First Level Management

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Hello and welcome! This is Sue Hutchinson. The title of my talk today is "What is first line management?"
One of the reasons I want to talk to you about this body of managers, is that my research and that of others has shown that first line managers are critical to the success of organizations. In particular, it is these managers who can have the greatest influence on employee attitudes, and the way employees behave at work. Yet, their importance is often overlooked in many organizations today. What is a first line manager? These are managers at the lower levels of management. Generally at the first level, to whom non-managerial employees report. In a traditional organization, these managers would report to a higher level of management, usually middle managers, as shown in this diagram. Generally, these first line managers are responsible for the operational, day-to-day running of a work area, rather than having responsibility for strategic matters. They could be engaged in general management work but could also be specialists in a functional area such as marketing, finance, sales, or HR. These managers are known by a variety of names, for example team leader,
supervisor, foreman, front line manager, junior manager, shop floor manager, group leader, or project manager. The size of teams these managers are responsible for varies enormously. It can be as few as one or two employees, or in larger organizations, these managers may have 40 or more employees reporting to them.