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Building productivity: Skilled line managers

Skilled managers child page Acas has developed seven levers which provide a practical framework for workplaces to unlock their potential to be more productive. This page looks at Skilled line managers.

Why is having skilled line managers so important?

A report from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills found that:

  • ineffective line management costs UK businesses over £19 billion per year in lost working hours.
  • 43% of UK managers rate their own line manager as 'ineffective'.

Effective line managers who are skilled at dealing with the people side of your business can really impact your organisations' productivity.

  • People stay in work longer and return more quickly.
  • Conflict is nipped in the bud.
  • Skills are used and people are developed fully.
  • Problems like stress are acknowledged and tackled in a supportive environment.
  • Communication works well in all its different channels.

An organisation's effectiveness relies on the quality of management and administrative procedures it has in place. The employee's first port of call when it comes to learning how the organisation operates is their immediate supervisor. The management skills demonstrated at this level bear directly on the effectiveness of the individual and the team.

Front line managers usually are the first level of management and may manage one employee or a large number. The role of the manager usually includes managing employees.

What does an organisation with skilled line managers look like?

  • Line managers have the skills and confidence to manage workplace policies and procedures and to bring them to life in dealing with individuals.
  • Change is recognised as an everyday feature of organisational life and is managed effectively.
  • Managing 'difficult conversations' is a core management competence.

Improving line management skills: Acas guidance and resources

Acas Productivity tool

Take the Acas self-diagnosis Productivity Tool test to understand your organisation's strengths and weaknesses, and to help you identify simple practical steps you can take to get the best out of your staff. The tool will produce a report with links to relevant Acas help and tools.

Find out more about the seven levers of workplace productivity

Well designed work | Skilled managersManaging conflict effectivelyClarity about rights and responsibilitiesFairnessStrong employee voice | High trust


Skilled line managers: Acas training and support for your business

Employees are often promoted to become managers and supervisors because they are good at their jobs rather than their people skills. Acas offer a range of Training Courses, Workshops and Projects which can can help develop and refresh the skills and knowledge that line managers need to manage their teams effectively. This can include:

  • managing people, budgets, work rotas on a day to day basis
  • managing communication and consultation within the team and organisation
  • managing change and restructuring workforces
  • techniques for identifying problems at an early stage and before they escalate
  • ways in which you can resolve problems in an informal and effective manner.

Let us know how we can help through our Customer contact form.

Acas also schedule training events around Great Britain which help employers learn more about skilled line managers. View our full listing of Training events or click on event details below.