Navigating the Tricky Transition from Peer to Leader

Reser’s Fine Foods

Case Studies

Reser’s Fine Foods has a long history of promoting from within. In most plant environments—whether it be food processing to car manufacturing—there are Line Workers, Leads, Supervisors, and Managers. Leads are generally line workers that were good at their job and driven to advance their career. However, being good at your job on the line doesn’t necessarily prepare you to lead. That’s where we came in.


Reser’s contacted us looking to create a program similar to the one we created for Supervisors the year prior, but this time focused on Leads. They identified four topics to present in two-hour interactive sessions:

  1. Problem solving
  2. Difficult conversations
  3. Transitioning from peer to lead
  4. Delegation

The goal was that participants would self-report increased confidence in each topic and that their supervisors/managers would observe participants demonstrating the associated behaviors on the job—behaviors like helping others, problem-solving entire lines, delegating, and having difficult conversations.


  • Learn: We conducted on-site observations and interviewed Leads and Supervisors to understand their role and to identify some of the common issues that Leads encounter – those they should resolve and those they should pass on to their Supervisors.
  • Design: Next, we designed four, two-hour instructor-led sessions.
    • Each session includes practice opportunities with support and coaching, learning games, and activities that clearly define Lead responsibilities versus those of a line employee or a Supervisor.
    • To extend the learning beyond the classroom, at the end of each session, participants complete an action plan to commit to one thing they will implement or improve back on the job.
    • We also created micro-learning sessions to reinforce the learning. These 5- to 10-minute facilitated trainings focus on the main concepts, Lead actions since the training, and ideas to keep working on the topics.
  • Deliver: Once all the deliverables were complete, we led a 1-day Train-the-Trainer session at Reser’s headquarters to walk through the session activities, answer questions, and provide opportunities for internal facilitators to practice facilitating content.



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