Frontline Leaders
ATD Blog

Upcoming Research: Top 5 Skills Managers Need to Develop Direct Reports

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

For the first time ever, ATD Research will examine the characteristics of great frontline managers, who excel as talent developers. In a recent poll of talent development executives, ATD found that the top five skills related to successful managers as talent developers are communication (83 percent), engagement (76 percent), listening and assessing (71 percent), accountability (70 percent), and collaboration (69 percent). As a follow-up to this finding, ATD Research has launched a survey to better understand these top five management skills. Keep reading to find out how you can participate in this new and exciting research and to learn more about this upcoming research project. 

Goals of This Research

ATD Research is interested in developing a profile of the successful frontline manager as a developer of direct reports as well as identifying how organizations can support managers. By conducting this research, we hope to determine: 

  • the importance of the top five skills related to successful managers 
  • how best to develop these skills in managers 
  • the extent to which existing frontline managers possess the top skills 
  • how managers are recognized and rewarded for effective talent development of their direct reports 
  • how success is measured in frontline managers.

How You Can Help


ATD Research has created a short online questionnaire designed to establish the importance of developing these five skills in successful frontline managers. The survey link has already been sent to those in the Management Community of Practice, but if you didn’t receive an invitation and would still like to participate, simply click here


The survey should only take about 15 minutes to complete. Ultimately, we would like to get several hundred responses so that we can develop a clear understanding of these management skills and provide the most accurate results possible for those in the management community. ATD’s Plans for This Research Once the data are collected, ATD Research will analyze the research and release a full report in fall 2016. We will also create an infographic and a whitepaper, both of which will be free for everyone. Watch for the report, infographic, and whitepaper this fall. 

You can learn more about management best practices on ATD’s Management blog.

About the Author

Megan Cole is a former ATD research analyst. Her primary responsibilities included creating and programming surveys, cleaning and analyzing data, and writing research reports for publication.

She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Central Florida and earned a doctorate in communication from Arizona State University. 

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