3 Tips for Developing Frontline Leaders
Operations Transformation

If you are leading an operations transformation, you already know that developing your frontline leaders is important. In fact, the success of your strategy depends on the ability of Frontline Leaders to implement that strategy. As they say, “business success is 1% about the plan, and 99% about execution”.

Most organisations recognise the importance of frontline leader capability, but many are still searching for effective solutions in the frenetic, time poor world we all live in now.

No one has time for ‘enjoyable’ or ‘nice’ training programs. So as you plan development activities for your frontline leaders, here are three important considerations to keep in mind.

It must Challenge
For any development activity to have meaningful impact, participants must be stretched. A development program must challenge participants to move out of their comfort zones and start believing that they can become better leaders. More often than not, it is not a lack of skill that holds managers back, it is a problem with mindset, confidence and conviction.

It must Confront
All leaders have blind spots. The most impactful development programs seek to reveal these blind spots through a mix of 360 degree feedback and self reflection. This feedback should confront ineffective or damaging leadership behaviours, whilst confirming and strengthening those that are working. It is only when leaders find and confront their ‘development edges’ that they can begin to transform.

It must Connect
If you’re an operations leader, I’m sure you don’t have time for theoretical leadership concepts that don’t translate into better business results. Head knowledge might be useful, but unless it can be applied practically, it just doesn’t count.

Effective leadership development makes a 3-point connection between the Head, the Heart and the Hands.

Leaders benefit from an understanding of new concepts (the Head), but only if they believe, in their Hearts, that those concepts are relevant and useful. And finally, leaders must commit to implement the new skills and behaviours (the Hands), because leadership isn’t about thinking, it’s about ‘doing’.

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As an operations leader, you may be feeling pressure from all sides – your CEO is asking for year on year savings, your customers want better service, all while business and product complexity continues to rise. As each year passes, the challenge of delivering these gains gets ever harder.

The Operations Transformation Guide summarises 3 foundational practices and approaches to transformation that many organisations don’t do well. These are not the only ingredients of success, but their absence has the greatest impact. In our experience, mastering these foundations will make the difference between incremental improvement and genuine transformation.