Who is a Line Manager? Roles, Responsibilities & Skills

line manager
Photo by Christina Morillo

Almost everyone in the workforce has a line manager, and becoming a line manager is usually the first step in advancing one’s career. A line manager role is frequently used as a stepping stone to higher positions and is the initial step in an employee’s career progression. But what precisely is a line manager? And what abilities are required for the position of line manager?

This page will define what it means to be a line manager and provide some detailed information on line management.

What is a Line Manager? 

A line manager is someone who is directly responsible for another member of staff or numerous members of staff. They frequently report to a higher level of management in the organisation yet are in charge of their team’s day-to-day operations.

They play a very vital role in a company’s operations, providing more junior employees with the advice they require and connecting them to those in more senior positions.

Depending on the company, they may also be referred to as supervisors or team leaders.

What Does a Line Manager Do?

Line managers are an organization’s heartbeat, pulsating life, direction, and purpose down its corridors.

They act as a link between senior and frontline personnel, ensuring that their teams work for the good of the business and in pursuit of its goals.

But what exactly do they watch over? Here’s more information:

  • Guardians of Performance: They closely supervise staff, ensuring that everyone is aligned with the organization’s goals and standards.
  • Navigators of Growth: They identify bottlenecks and assist teams in steering their growth trajectory through rigorous assessment and feedback.
  • Mentors and Trainers: Recognising knowledge gaps, they arrange internal and external training, assuring the team’s ongoing success.
  • Resourceful Strategists: They handle day-to-day decisions with deftness, from job allocation to operational changes, ensuring that resources, whether manpower, materials, or machines, are optimally used in pursuit of team and organisational goals.
  • Talent Spotters: Deeply involved in recruitment, they employ, induct, and ensure new members fit in well with the company’s culture.
  • Communication Conduits: They act as a two-way route for vital information to be relayed between top leadership and frontline staff. This includes communicating top-down changes, missions, visions, and values.
  • Advocates for Safety: Health and safety are not just tick boxes for line managers; they are imperatives.
  • System Architects: The line manager is responsible for developing efficient systems, managing information, and reporting, assuring smooth operations regardless of their particular domain, such as finance, sales, or marketing.
  • People’s Champions: They ensure that everyone succeeds by holding meetings, conducting interviews, and guiding through disciplinary measures, as well as encouraging growth and cultivating a conducive environment.

It’s important to note that good line managers do these things successfully!

In a word, being a line manager entails managing people and establishing the environment in which they operate. They lubricate the wheels of the organization’s equipment, ensuring that every portion works flawlessly and propels the company ahead.

What is a Line Manager in Business?

A line manager in a firm might have a variety of tasks and responsibilities, depending on the nature of the organisation and the business structure.

Here are some examples of line managers:

  • Asset managers.
  • Brand managers.
  • Communications managers.
  • Office managers.
  • Operations managers.
  • Network managers.
  • Talent managers.
  • Systems managers.
  • Human resources managers.
  • Sales managers.
  • Supply chain managers.

In a modern organisation, the business line manager function is all-encompassing, whether it means directing day-to-day workforce operations or mentoring people. Line managers are critical to the operation of a profitable organisation, and their function is critical to its smooth operation.

All line managers, regardless of the type of firm, are critical culture makers. They must, psychologically, be in several different places at the same time.

Finally, motivation and morale are the duties of the line manager, yet many line managers are unaware of their critical role in building this culture. Furthermore, there is a knack in being able to work closely with coworkers while inspiring respect as the team’s senior member.

According to studies, 70% of employees want to look for different employment in the future. The main cause of these beliefs is exposure to bad line management and relationships. As a result, having a good line manager is critical.

Important Line Manager Skills

Here are five essential talents to cultivate during your career to help you become a great line manager:

#1. Communication

Line managers are in charge of delivering messages between staff and top management; hence, great communication skills are required. Actively listening to your team members can help you guarantee that you understand their needs and work to provide them with the resources they require. To strengthen communications at all levels of your organisation, take the time to ask clarifying questions and provide clear, succinct feedback.

Improving your negotiation skills can also help you act as a liaison between front-line workers and management, identifying opportunities for compromise and ensuring that everyone is satisfied with the outcome. Finally, work on improving your interpersonal skills so that you can form strong bonds with other team members. Discovering their interests and hobbies outside of work can be a good place to start. This can increase employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention rates by making your coworkers feel valued.

#2. Coaching abilities

Successful line managers understand how to support and encourage their team members to do their best work. As a mentor, you can help identify areas where employees can improve their performance and provide the resources they need to excel in their roles. Improving your coaching abilities can also help you learn how to provide constructive feedback.

Maintain a positive attitude and use direct language to make useful and easy-to-implement suggestions. In the future, this can increase your team’s readiness to try new things and take extra criticism.

#3. Detail-oriented

As a line manager, you must pay great attention to details in order to discover opportunities for improvement and avoid potential blunders. To maintain high-quality standards, review employee performance indicators and customer feedback on a regular basis. Depending on your sector, you may also want to plan routine maintenance checks to ensure that the equipment your team uses is completely operational.

If you detect an issue that needs to be addressed, document it, contact top management, and take corrective action as quickly as feasible. This might assist you in ensuring that everyone is aware of the problem and the efforts you are making to remedy it.

#4. Leadership abilities

Strong leadership abilities can assist you in efficiently delegating work and motivating team members to overcome obstacles. This can save you time and allow you to focus on more important activities. Improving your leadership abilities can also help you effectively communicate corporate and department objectives, implement new programmes and initiatives, and manage team meetings.

Being confident in your role as a leader is a fantastic strategy to get employee support and increase trust with your team. Practise public speaking and take the time to plan for crucial presentations in advance to ensure your team perceives you as a strong and effective leader.

#5. Organisation

As a line manager, it’s crucial to keep an orderly workstation to ensure you can quickly access the things you need to do your best work. Create a system for storing your documents that allows you to easily access them. To track organisational goals or to describe potential difficulties and solutions, you may establish folders for each employee’s performance data. Being organised might also assist you in properly allocating resources to ensure that the departments you manage stay within budget.

Finally, having good organisational abilities will allow you to update work schedules and set checklists that will aid in the workflow of your team. Consider investing in management software that allows you to centralise all of your documents and remotely share access with other critical team members.

What Makes a Good Line Manager?

A good line manager understands that their role does not require them to undertake hands-on work; instead, they are responsible for managing the people who do the work.

Here are five steps to being a successful manager; this is not a full list, but it is an excellent starting point:

  • Build and Develop Teams: Surround yourself with exceptional people and foster an environment in which they may thrive.
  • Delegate and Empower: Stop performing front-line work; it is not your job. Instead, learn to establish a strong team, delegate effectively, and empower your capable staff.
  • Management Capability Development: Management capability is a moving feast; identify the management talents you require and never stop working on them.
  • Organise Yourself and Your Team: Improve your organisation and time management skills, and assist your team in doing the same.
  • They Have Emotional Intelligence: becoming aware of your team’s emotional and motivational pulses, creating empathy, understanding, and effective communication.

It takes time to develop into an excellent line manager. It entails acquiring new skills as well as learning from mistakes.

But what happens when a line manager fails to learn from mistakes and refuses to build new skills? This is when the poor line manager enters the picture!

What Makes a Bad Line Manager

According to research, ineffective managers who lack critical people management abilities can have a significant detrimental impact on the mental health, work happiness, and performance of those they oversee.

So, how do poor managers appear? Here are some characteristics of a lousy line manager:

#1. Inadequate Communication

In practise, managers frequently give ambiguous directions, fail to establish clear expectations, or hide critical information from team members.

Confusion, errors, and inefficiency are the results. Team members squander time seeking clarification or making rash decisions.

#2. Failure to Provide Feedback

In practise, managers avoid providing both good and negative feedback, putting employees in the dark about their own performance.

Employees miss out on possibilities for advancement and may continue to make mistakes unwittingly. When good effort goes undetected, morale suffers.

#3. Micromanagement

In Practise: Managers scrutinise every detail of their employees’ work, frequently interfering or requiring frequent reports.

Employee innovation and initiative were stifled as a result. It also fosters distrust, which leads to lower employee engagement and job satisfaction.

#4. Inadequate Empathy and Understanding

Managers exhibit little regard for their employees’ well-being or professional objectives in practise. Employee concerns may be dismissed or minimised.

This has a negative impact on the manager-employee relationship, reducing loyalty and commitment. Employee retention rates may decline over time as they seek better work settings.

#5. Avoidance of Responsibility

In Practise: When things go wrong, terrible managers blame others and avoid taking responsibility for their decisions or the performance of their teams.

This has a negative impact on team members’ trust and respect. It can also foster a culture of blame-shifting and avoidance of accountability.

What is the Difference Between Line Manager and Middle Manager?

Middle managers report to line managers. Middle managers are in charge of large teams and are unable to control the performance of every individual. As a result, the direct or line manager evaluates team performance and reports to the middle manager.

What is Difference Between Manager and Line Manager?

A line manager is directly responsible for organising, managing, and dealing with staff, but they also report to a more senior manager who is in charge of them.

Is a Line Manager a Boss?

A line manager is someone who is directly responsible for another member of staff or numerous members of staff. They frequently report to a higher level of management in the firm, but are in charge of their team’s day-to-day operations.

Is a Line Manager Higher than a Staff Manager?

Every business has its own hierarchy. Staff managers, on the other hand, are often subordinate to line managers. A staff manager may provide advice and suggestions to team members, but a line manager usually has the last say on team performance issues.

What is the Alternative Name for a Line Manager?

If your company does not have a line manager, they may operate under a different title: Direct manager, supervisor, and team leader are all common titles for the same position.


Line managers are in practically every organisation and industry from banking, waste disposal and food service, to media. In a typical firm, the line manager will oversee a revenue-generating team in a corporation, and it is this individual who functions as the key go-between for front-line works and top management.

When a line manager is effective, it makes a big impact to the workers and the success of the business or organisation. Similarly, poor line management will harm an organisation and its personnel.

Finally, a good line manager have the abilities required to operate professionally and personally with a team. They are an effective organiser, decision maker, and leader who will give credit where credit is due and is not hesitant to admit mistakes.


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