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Line manager

This page is for people with management responsibility or who have a supervisory role for a team or junior members of staff - even where there are self-managed team arrangements in place.

Experience of working with both large and small organisations has shown that line managers have a critical role in maintaining employee health and well-being and minimising the likelihood of stressful circumstances and situations arising for their staff.

The role you play as a line manager is crucial to the successful implementation of the Management Standards approach in your organisation. There are many areas where you can have a positive influence.

HSE has developed a number of useful aids to help you with these tasks, including a tool that line managers can use to assess their management competencies.

Key messages

  • Line managers play a critical role in specifying task and job requirements and allocating individual job roles for those in their immediate team. This is a key part of job design, so your actions and behaviour could have a very important impact on the quality of working life of your team.
  • You play a pivotal role in communicating – for example about change – fostering both ‘upward’ and ‘downward’ communication flows.
  • You are critical in ensuring interventions specified in action planning are promptly and properly implemented.
  • You can encourage your team members to respond to calls for participation in surveys, data collection, focus groups and other activities linked to the Management Standards process.
  • Line manager self-awareness and knowledge about the make-up of team members, is critical to the success of team interaction and performance – you can play to people’s strengths and preferences.
  • You will often be the first port of call for employees with problems.

Find out how line manager activity could have helped prevent Dan’s work related stress:

Your role in the Management Standards

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Your role with individuals

Each of the Management Standards is specified in terms of a State To Be Achieved (STBA) – but also explicitly recognises that 'systems must be in place to deal with individual concerns and issues'. The line manager plays a key role in fulfilling these duties

As well as demonstrating competency in appropriate behavioural styles, line managers can demonstrate positive behaviours if they:

Updated 2011-01-04