Research by Dublin City University has shown that the attitude, actions and behaviour of line managers has a significant influence on how a woman experiences her time at work while pregnant, throughout her maternity leave, and on her return to work. With sufficient awareness and knowledge, the line manager has an opportunity to have a far reaching influence on a woman’s engagement and productivity at work, as well as her long term commitment to her employer. Women report mixed experiences of this time, and the research as well as anecdotal evidence suggest that proactive training of managers would be a valuable addition.
Line Managers may be unfamiliar with maternity legislation, company policy, and indeed it may be their first time managing a maternity leave. They may be unsure of how to best support their direct report and how to ensure she has a positive, proactive and professional experience. Training and coaching line managers should be a natural progression to any other people management or leadership development.
Line Manager Coaching support can be provided in a group workshop setting on-site with the client, or on a 1:1 basis depending on the needs on your organisation. Whichever approach is preferred, best practice aligns this support to Before, During and After maternity/paternity/parental leave. When I work with Line Managers we focus not only on the WHAT but also the WHY of managing a successful absence from work for parental or caring responsibilities. Raising their awareness as to why this is so important, and creating a practical plan with them to take forward.
In an ideal scenario, Line Manager Coaching support would be provided in parallel to Maternity and / or Paternity Coaching to allow for a joined up approach with the most positive outcomes.