Executive CoachingStrategy Execution

Coaching of Front Line Leaders in Production

Front Line Leaders

HOW AN AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLIER UNLOCKS HIS LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL

In their professional life, front line leaders close to production rarely, if ever, benefit from intensive 1:1 leadership coaching.

High personal commitment – operationally strongly involved – in leadership or in survival mode?

What distinguishes the members of this group? They are very involved in managing the day-to-day business with a high level of personal commitment (often enough in “survival mode”); focus on their own area of responsibility, act in some areas across all areas, but self-development and employee development (“leadership mode”) often fade into the background.

In short, they keep the shop running, but leadership is rarely an issue, and if this remains unprocessed over long periods, it has a negative effect on the leader’s personal will to design better processes, products and to raise the overall satisfaction in the workforce.

Learning in the fast lane – to the leadership project in three months

That’s why it makes sense to invite this group to a three-month learning in the fast lane, to discover, challenge and unleash leadership potential. In this case, a well-known automotive supplier of premium products implements  an internally developed program with our help with the following components:

Target group: per wave 10-15 production-related leaders as well as their superiors (in the leadership and mentoring role). Duration: 3 months. Interventions:

  • Planning and implementing leadership projects with a cross-divisional focus (the whole company benefits!). Topics: digitization / cross-divisional communication / company-wide actionable management concepts (revitalization of employee appraisal and effective feedback) / product innovations / process innovations.
  • Direct supervisors who prepare the participants for the three-month practical phase (actual acceptance of leadership strengths and challenges for each individual).
  • Two-day face-to-face training on refreshing / re-acquiring leadership skills.
  • Weekly 1:1 coachings that focus on leadership & behavior.
  • Shadowings by the coach incl. feedback that anchors the acquired leadership knowledge in daily business
  • Regular professional mentoring by the next management level (project steps, opening doors).
  • Final presentation with the top management of the business unit and all managers of the site.
  • Direct managers who are supported by the coach to develop the target group after the project has been completed.
  • Regular meet-ups  of all participants of the waves for networking and rapid cross-divisional problem solving, as well as mutual support.
  • Last but not least: Staff work of coach and client (management, works council, personnel development) ensuring programeffectiveness.

What does this mean for leadership?

The front line leaders are insprired during the program,

  • to show initiative (do not wait until a problem is recognized and solved by others, istead tackle and raise potential for improvement independently in a planned manner and in cooperation with others).  This attitude will boost the will to design and lead the performance projects using new or refresehd leadership skills to the desired results.
  • Build and maintain sustainable working relationships. Craftsmanship alone will bring little success if the climate of trust between employees and leaders on the shop floor does not improve significantly in this case.

Learnings:

Not only the younger, but especially the 50+ year old leaders benefit, and it is very amazing how the leadership potential and ambition of this subgroup is released (they CAN DO IT, they just have to allow it to themselves again).

Greater impact through individual coaching

The coaching sessions show where individuals need to work and follow up on; which leadership attitude, which leadership methods and techniques fit for the individual. Sometimes it’s about conversational skills, sometimes about the attitude towards the employee, the colleagues of other departments, sometimes about checking why you actually started as a leader, what limits you impose to yourself, what potentials are overlooked. There are a number of  results, effects and positive side effects in thisprogram. Example:

“It is much easier for me to give critical feedback as well.”, and: “I have seen how quickly we can implement things together here if we only coordinate sensibly with each other.”

These are learning experiences that contribute to good leadership; in this company with a focus on the will to design and to build strong relationships as drivers of leadership and business success.

Picture Source: 123RF.com

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