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Who are line managers? Role of line managers

Who are line managers?

Line managers play an important role in organisations. They are those managers to whom individuals or teams directly report and who have responsibility to a higher level of management for those individuals or teams (University of Southampton, 2014). They have responsibility for directly managing individual employees or teams. In turn, they report to a higher level of management on the performance and well-being of the employees or teams they manage (CIPD, 2014).  They are also sometimes called ‘front-line managers’.

Role of line managers

Line managers carry out a number of management responsibilities. According to CIPD (2014) typical responsibilities may include day-to-day people management, managing operational costs, providing technical expertise, allocating work and rotas, monitoring work and checking quality, dealing with customers/clients, and measuring operational performance.

Line Manager’s HRM responsibilities

According to Dessler (2004) line managers have a number of HRM responsibilities e.g. placing the right person on the right job, starting new employees in the organization (orientation), training employees for jobs new to them, improving the job performance of each person, gaining creative cooperation and developing smooth working relationships, interpreting the firm’s policies and procedures, controlling labor costs, developing the abilities of each person, creating and maintaining department morale, and protecting employees’ health and physical condition.

Based on the responsibilities outlined above, it is clear that line managers play a very important part in the overall organisational performance.  They work very closely with employees and provide them with constant support. They are also in a position to influence employee satisfaction directly resulting in improved organisational productivity.

Challenges facing line managers

There are a number of challenges for typical line managers. For example, the job may require long hours without much financial incentives. Sometimes, they are expected of carrying out many responsibilities with limited resources. They are also under constant pressure to minimize costs and maximize output.

As it is clear that line managers play an important role in overall organisational performance, they need to be selected very carefully. They are the people who identify, develop and promote talented professionals of their teams. Therefore, they must have sufficient skills and knowledge to do the jobs they are entrusted with.

The article publication date: 15 May 2017

Further reading/References

CIPD (2014) The role of line managers (online), available from (Accessed 02 December 2014)

Dessler, G. (2004) Human Resource Management, 10th International Edition,  Prentice Hall

University of Southampton (2014) Line manager’s role (online), available from, (accessed 25 April 2015)

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Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online and offline with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He holds an MSc in Tourism & Hospitality from the University of Sunderland. Also, graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a BA in Business & Management Studies and completed a DTLLS (Diploma in Teaching in the Life-Long Learning Sector) from London South Bank University.

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