Line managers are essential to an engaged, motivated and productive workforce. It’s vital that business owners recognise their importance and the impact they have on business success.

As part of our ongoing focus on the role of line managers, we’re looking at how business owners can support line managers in their work. Here are some of the Reality HR team’s top tips:

Focus on training and development

Training is essential to ensure your line managers are confident in delivering your company policies and procedures, in line with your Vision, Mission and Values, as well as employment legislation and best practice. If managers feel they are not equipped with the right training or knowledge, this will affect their confidence in the role, their performance and the success of their team.

Set out a development plan with your line managers and ask them where they feel they could use more guidance or training. Regular reviews and scheduled training will improve their competence in managing employee issues such as performance and absence management and addressing poor conduct in their teams.


It can be lonely heading up a team. Support from colleagues and other leaders within the business can help, so encourage line managers to talk to each other about their roles and how they have tackled difficult issues.

Set clear expectations

Do your managers know what is expected of them? Sometimes when there is a problem, it helps to ask whether you have been clear enough in defining their role.

A training session, one-to-one meeting to set clear goals or an updated handbook can help get them on track.

Let managers be managers

Line managers need autonomy and freedom to make important decisions in order to be more engaged and motivated. You may be tempted to step in to help them – but try to resist.  Trust and encourage line managers to make their own judgements – and even if they make mistakes, they’ll learn from the experience.

Don’t forget to feed back

While you expect line managers to give performance appraisals to their staff, you might forget that they also need regular feedback. Programme in detailed reviews of how well they have met their individual objectives – and most importantly give them positive feedback and recognition when they have achieved something. Remember to reward managers as well employees – success is a team effort, after all.

Offer your support

When employees feel stressed or overwhelmed, they might go to their line manager for support – but who do line managers turn to? There are various pressures placed on a line manager when it comes to business operations and they can be targets for bullying or harassment – it’s not always the other way round.

Line managers are also tasked with engaging with difficult employees and situations that could have an effect on their mental health. Let them know you are there to support them and will take any complaint from them as seriously as you would from any employee.

If you’re looking to improve the effectiveness of your line managers or find the right person for the job, contact us at

We’re holding a free webinar on January 21st for business owners, offering hints and tips for “managing managers”. Email to book your place!