Williams made his remarks at the CIPD Learning and Development Show, in a talk entitled 'Maximising Organisational Performance by Building Greater Capability in Line Managers'.
“To address underperformance for example takes a long time,” he said. “It can distract from achieving day-to-day work. So it’s important to recognise people for that. Otherwise they will end up thinking it’s easier to turn a blind eye and wait until the person underperforming is moved into another department.”
“If we don’t measure and reward this behaviour we might be disincentivising it.”
Williams said that the job of the line manager has never been harder.
“Most organisations have now consolidated the HR function and rolled out a self-service mentality, so line managers are taking on more and more responsibility for HR. To the extent that me and colleagues have joked before that maybe it’s time to give them a button they press to make themselves redundant!”
“They are taking on greater responsibility than ever before, so those individuals need to perform leadership roles.”
Williams said the key to line managers becoming equipped to deal with this added responsibility is a shift in personal identity through training centred around cognition, emotion and physiology. In this way they could achieve a mindset change where the line manager feels genuinely positive about managing other people.
“You want people to feel honoured to lead other people,” said Williams, adding: “By shifting their mentality you’re more likely to get sustained behaviour change.”
Presenting during the same Learning and Development show session, Europcar’s management development manager Chris Chinn said: “The line manager has the most impact on the people that have the potential to deliver results. They create the environment that makes people choose to come to work.”
He added: “The line manager is the conductor who brings all the pieces together and delivers the music how it was originally intended.”