Line managers need investment in communication skills and relevant content from the centre


line manager research

Throughout March and April, we carried out some research into the role of line managers in organisations. This is for line managers to tell us more about their roles, their capabilities, and the support they must have to do their job.

We want to know more about their purpose, how they communicate with their team, the quality of their relationships and how they spend their time. For years line managers have been on the list of barriers to good internal communication inside organisations – but why? And if they have been on that list for years, why haven’t we done anything to get them off?!

This whole project was sparked by a question in 2020 on LinkedIn: Are line managers still needed in organisations today?  

I believe that we all need an anchor point in organisations. Something we tether to. This could be a person or a location but it’s about having a point of connection. For many in the last year this will have been the line manager. Do I think the role is perfect? Absolutely not. But this research helps us think about what needs to change to enable line managers to thrive.

We really need to understand from the line managers themselves what it is they do so we can understand and enhance their role for the benefit of the organisation. Much like the Remotely interested? research, where we spoke directly to deskless workers, we took a similar approach for this one and we used an online survey to gather responses from line managers. The research is still ongoing and today we have issued a snapshot of the findings covering 12 key insights into the role of line managers and what needs to change:

  1. More experienced managers know their weaknesses
  2. Self-awareness is low when it comes to communication skills
  3. Line managers aren’t listening
  4. Not all line managers are the same
  5. 70% of people had a new team member join this year
  6. Empowerment vs autonomy
  7. Matrix management has an impact on happiness
  8. We know where we belong
  9. Internal communication is not good enough
  10. Things that have changed since they started in the role
  11. The most important aspects of their job and what they could do if they could
  12. Their best information source.

You can download the report here and I’d love to know what you think of our initial findings (you can email me at If you want to take part in the research, you can do so by sharing the survey link with all line managers inside your organisation.

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