Three Ways to Solidify Yourself in the Middle
Occupying a seat in the middle is all about balance.
Referred to as the executory level, the mid-level management is where the translation of strategy into concrete business action begins. They take in the strategies created by the c-levels and interpret and relay it to their subordinates.
Middle managers shoulder a wide range of responsibilities while dealing with higher-ups and supervising subordinates. Most of these individuals who are sandwiched in the middle are overwhelmed, and the global health crisis that shaped 2020 added new layers of stress as it put them through complicated situations among the rest of the world.
One of the main pain points for these middle managers during the previous year is the accelerated digital transformation as the pandemic pushed them to repurpose existing ideas and change their managerial ways to remain effective. Along with the digital pivot, the responsibilities of middle managers declined as the crisis opened doors to divide their work between subordinates and other employees. It may look like they are finally having the break they needed, but automation and the internet put the top-level management directly in touch with their frontline workers, eliminating the need for the middle layer of management. Some companies even promote flat organization to cut expenses, generate results faster, and reduce micromanaging.
So how will middle managers avoid extinction? Here are three keys to keeping you indispensable in the middle.
Communication and Empathy
Build good rapport with your seniors and fellow managers, and create nurturing interpersonal relationships with your team.
Having good communication skills will allow you to have a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities. It will also help you express ideas, information, and instructions to different audiences with clarity which would be valuable in resolving and preventing conflict.
But aside from the delivery of words and ideas, having good communication skills means establishing trust by listening to your subordinates with empathy. Exhibiting self and social awareness would help you positively influence your team. You should also be open to constructive feedback from your people for you to see the bigger picture of your leadership style.
While creating good relationships with your subordinates may help you promote productivity within your team, this will not be enough if you have poor delegation skills.
Take a moment to assess your capability and performance just as you check on the skill set of your team. Do not hesitate to align with your subordinates to delegate responsibilities to the right people. But do keep in mind that your role is not just to delegate tasks but also to help members, even underperforming ones, to grow for them to be capable of handling and performing future tasks.
Innovation through Strategic Thinking
Having their fingers on the pulse of operations, there is no better person to oversee needed changes in the organization than a middle manager. They are equipped with a unique vantage point from having experience in day-to-day work and administration.
As a middle manager, you must have the ability to make certain decisions even under pressure, and create new ways to improve employee productivity and enhance organizational culture. Aligning with the company’s and the top-level management’s vision would help you turn policies into realistic goals and enforce them more effectively and strategically.
Middle management is hard. As a middle manager, you get pulled from different directions for different reasons. But with the appropriate qualities and the ability to focus on issues that need attention, middle managers can keep themselves professional, productive, and sane all at the same time.
The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any mentioned entity.