How to choose the first-line manager and optimize his integration?

Whether he is a foreperson, a supervisor or a team leader, the first-line manager plays an essential role in the company’s daily operations and is directly related to its overall business strategy.

Beyond the technical skills, the first-line manager must be able to mobilize his employees, tactfully manage conflicts, encourage teamwork and communicate efficiently while ensuring the effectiveness of his sector’s business activities.

Too often, an employee does not leave his job, but his manager. It is therefore important that the person holding this position has all the required skills and abilities to effectively manage a team.

Use different tools during the selection process for additional insight

Whether the potential candidates come from within or from outside the company, different tools are available for additional insight in the selection process. For example, psychometric tests can give a better understanding of an individual’s personality, cognitive abilities, and behavioral patterns. A managerial in-basket exercise will evaluate the candidate’s ability to respond to management situations that may be encountered at work, through different scenarios. It is thus highly beneficial to go beyond the interview and reference processes, since miscalculated hiring decisions often end up costing the company.

Internal Hiring : Make your expectations clear and train your first-line manager

When promoted from within, the first-line manager has rarely management training and this role change can be unsettling. He must take ownership of his new position, create strong relationships with former colleagues and meet the demands coming from his manager, and also from the members of his team. These new responsibilities can cause significant stress. It is therefore essential that the transition be made under the best possible conditions in order to foster successful integration in his new role.

Providing ongoing support and follow-ups during this transition phase is important to achieve the expected results. To do so, it is necessary to clarify the expectations and objectives of the position with the first-line manager, to see what training is required to enable him to properly fulfill his new role, to follow up and to offer him support during the transition phase.

External Hiring : Communicate your company’s values and mission

When the first-line manager is hired from outside the company, the onboarding and integration phase is a crucial step in maximizing the chances of success following the first day. This step will ease social and professional integration not only into the new position, but also within the company. At this stage, the new employee should be provided with information about the company’s culture, values, and mission as well as the expectations regarding the tasks to be performed, and the role and responsibilities to be taken in his new position.

In either one of these two scenarios, the closer the integration plan will be structured and adapted to the needs of the first-line manager, the faster it will help him achieve a satisfactory level of performance and increase both his engagement and his retention.


Note: The masculine form is used throughout this article solely in order to simplify the text.