We surveyed a group of senior business leaders in banking and insurance at Fortune 500 companies to learn about the key challenges their supervisors and employees face and how they plan to address them.

The Messy Middle: top challenges for supervisors

Frontline teams are stuck in the “messy middle” – feeling the pressure to achieve ever-higher performance metrics while adapting to several seismic shifts.

1. Hybrid work heartburn

Supervisors feel disconnected from their teams. In a remote environment, they struggle to diagnose why some team members hit their goals while others fall short. They want their teams to feel more engaged but aren’t sure how to achieve it.

2. The AI learning curve

Supervisors are also contending with major technological shifts. 78% of leaders surveyed stated that adopting GenAI tools was a critical priority in the next 12 months. Supervisors want to keep up with change but don’t have enough time.

3. Supervisors are stretched too thin

Most frontline supervisors are overwhelmed and underprepared for their role. They are asked to manage for the first time while ensuring their team hits their KPIs. For many, their performance goals have increased while their teams have shrunk. 

Supervisors are bearing the brunt of these pressures… and are the key to helping frontline teams thrive.

I feel very distant from my teams. I don’t know what happening in their lives, even though I try to fly out to see each center quarterly. I know it’s not just me. My supervisors routinely surface that they feel disconnected from their people.

– SVP of Collections at a top 4 US bank


Supercharge your supervisors

When supervisors and their employees can identify and overcome their personal blockers, team performance takes off. When every team takes off, the company takes off, exceeding performance goals.

How is it possible to support deeply personal transformation at scale? We recommend a three-pronged approach.

1. Solve the connection conundrum:

Supervisors want to connect with and motivate their teams but are at a loss at how to do so. Rather than throw more at them – more happy hours, more kudos boards, more town halls, more “team-building” exercises – help supervisors give employees what they really want: a clear way to grow in their career.

2. Provide tactical, practical skill-building

Operations Leaders identified three key types of skills that supervisors need to develop: technical skills, people skills, and change management skills. 

Supervisors need to practice skills in a hands-on, realistic way, on their own time.The best approach combines human coaching and AI simulations, allowing supervisors to build mastery in a controlled environment.

3. Create a space for innovation

AI can be a huge opportunity, if supervisors have the time to fully realize its potential for their teams. Today, supervisors are stretched too thin. They need leverage – which you can provide by ensuring employees have the one-on-one coaching, skill-building, and support they need to grow.


My coach rocks! I was really struggling with low-performing team members. She helped me see that some of my team needed to connect their work to a goal to feel motivated,  which led to a night and day difference in their engagement.  And she helped me practice giving tough feedback so that I could directly address low performance without feeling too anxious.

– Amanda J., Supervisor at a Fortune 50 Financial Services Firm

Pathstream is a mission-driven organization founded on the premise that tremendous, unrealized economic and human potential exists within an organization’s frontline workforce.

We are dedicated to empowering employees and supervisors to thrive in their careers by providing motivation, support, and the necessary skills to achieve their goals. Our innovative platform integrates personalized professional coaching, practical skill-building programs, and comprehensive career pathing – enabling organizations to provide effective, end-to-end support for their frontline workforce while benefiting from improved retention and in-role performance. Learn more by contacting us. 

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