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.
- 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
- Encourage team members to participate in the process especially at the data gathering stage. This may involve completing a survey – a high rate of response provides a much better and more reliable reflection of the views of the team. Also, encourage team members to participate in the focus group stage and ensure adequate time is given to allow people to have this involvement.
- Output from the focus groups will be in the form of preliminary action plans that will suggest or specify a number of linked or staged interventions to tackle particular issues – some of these will necessarily be devolved down to team or unit level and implementation will be appropriately done there. Line managers can demonstrate commitment to the team’s well-being by taking an active involvement in implementing these actions.
- If the action plans are at a high (strategic) level then you will want to decide (with your team) how best to implement them and adapt them to your own local requirements so that they fit in with working practices on the ground
- You will also, once interventions have been implemented, want to monitor their effectiveness and make any adjustments as seem appropriate and feed back this information to the steering group.
- Line manager competencies in relation to the Management Standards are highly relevant to management good practice.
- Understanding the personality of team members and interactions and how these are relevant to potential stressful situations
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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:
- Show a positive attitude to stress and mental health issues.
- Demonstrate awareness, recognition and early identification, of possible problems so that intervention at an individual level can take place as soon as possible.
- Show that they know how to approach issues sensitively.
- Know what systems and policies are relevant and keep that knowledge up-to-date.