Some leaders need to harness powers they don’t even realize they have. Here’s how HR can help front-line managers use their hidden superpowers.
Helping them benefits you. When front-line managers know and use their power effectively, they can improve morale, productivity and operations.
Yep, front-line managers can transform the workplace for the better with their superpowers!
“The more power you have, the more able you are to direct, influence, and inspire people to make positive changes,” says Paul Thornton, a speaker, an adjunct professor and the author of Leadership-Perfecting Your Approach and Style.
That’s the point of each power: Managers can use them for the greater good at work (and in life, actually).
Here are the three powers, how you can help front-line managers get them, and how they can best use them.
Front-line managers actually already own some of this one. They’ve moved up the chain of command and have power over some employees.
How to gain it: To gain more position power (aka, move up the chain), they’ll want to:
- Reward and recognize people for good work and deeds. Be genuine and generous with praise and public recognition, and do as much as possible with bonuses, pay increases and time off.
- Discipline people fairly and with compassion, using constructive criticism.
- Learn from colleagues. Connect with and support others at and above your level within the company.
How to use it: They can use Position Power to get employees and themselves ahead. Keys:
- Use rewards and consequences fairly and consistently to motivate and reinforce high standards.
- Share relevant information from up the chain of command to help employees see the big picture and make good decisions.
- Gather relevant info from the team to pass along to help higher-ups make good decisions, too.
This is the power of practice, study and discipline. Front-line managers have it because they’ve become an expert in an area or two, and people at work turn to them for the best advice and direction.
How to gain it: Research. Ask questions. Watch videos. Take classes. Try new approaches when faced with challenges. They’ want to talk to other experts in the field. Focus on a subject or two they’re interested in, and it’ll come naturally.
How to use it: Help front-line managers go after certifications and other kinds of credentials in their expertise. Give them opportunities to train others. Encourage them to invite others to ask them questions about their expertise. And they can use their reputation as the “go-to” person as a tool to manage bigger projects and advance their careers.
This is a pleasant power. With Personal Power, others will see front-line managers as charismatic, positive and personable. People often follow their influence because they’re likable.
How to gain it: Managers want to be warm, friendly, sociable and open at work. They can share feelings, values and hopes with employees and colleagues. They also want to ask about and be interested in others’. They’ll also want to build strong networks in and out of work so they can connect people who can help each other.
How to use it: Mangers want to make people feel comfortable and confident with them by giving their full, undivided attention. They’ll need to lean toward optimism, while being realistic, to build a trusting network of employees and colleagues.