Often middle managers have to endure higher levels of stress than senior managers and entry-level employees. Most speculate that is due to having to communicate both up and down the ladder. That being said, it can be an incredibly rewarding role; you get to act as a talent scout, a team builder and both a mentee and a mentor. So, the question is, how can you ensure that you have a good experience and excel as a middle manager, and you don’t fall into the pitfalls?
What is middle management?
A middle manager is someone whose responsibilities fall somewhere between senior or executive management and entry or associate level management. Middle managers are sort of like the leader of a group project, they oversee the other members, and often they are the ones that have to present it to the rest of the class too.
Often middle management is seen as a stepping stone, but it is an important role, and it provides a vital link between your team and your senior management. You are privy to both sides, and as such, you offer a unique insight into the company’s workflow.
If you are new to management and you really aren’t sure where to begin or even what skills, you need then it may be worth signing up to take a course. It may even be worth taking the course if you aspire to management in the future as if you choose the right course, then you can come away with recognised qualifications that you can list on your CV.
There are many online or college-based courses that you can take, such as the BCF Group’s ILM Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management. The BCF Group has a number of different courses to help you further your career. This specific qualification is designed to prepare leaders and managers for dealing with issues encountered in the modern workplace. It focuses on teamwork and collaboration, and it is specifically geared towards middle managers.
Understand the role
Middle managers are crucial in ensuring that communication flows well through all areas of the business. You are integral in passing on important information and policies from upper management, and you are also responsible for communicating any feedback from entry-level employees.
The specifics of your role may differ depending on what industry or sector you are working in, but generally, middle managers have several key responsibilities. These include things like leading a team, developing group work, supporting line managers and upper management, communicating up and down the ladder. They also tend to be the ones who set goals and carry out performance reviews for entry-level employees, they delegate tasks, and they end up mediating conflicts between team members too. If you are ever unclear about your responsibilities or what is expected of you, then simply ask.
Align your passion with the company’s mission
In middle management, you have very little control over the goals and objectives of the company, but you are still expected to motivate yourself and your team to perform. The company’s mission may not always align with your beliefs of passions personally, but you are expected to act as if they do. This internal conflict is best resolved by clarifying your personal values, understanding the company’s values, and trying to find a way to bridge the gap.
In short, if you are invested in the goals that your organisation is working towards, then it is much easier to support these goals and encourage your team to work towards them. However, if you cannot find an overlap, then you may need to look for a new role or a new company that’s ethics more closely align with your own beliefs.
Re-define what success looks like
Often in middle management, it can seem like your contribution is overlooked; maybe you aren’t met with the same satisfaction and praise as you were when you were completing tasks as an entry-level employee. As a manager, you do not receive the same praise. However, management is not necessarily about personal satisfaction, it is about ensuring that your team delivers amazing results, and you should gain your satisfaction from their accomplishments.
When your team receives praise, you can revel in it too as, after all, it is also a nod towards your leadership efforts and your management success. Likewise, when your team gets good feedback, you should be both proud of their efforts and proud of yours too. As a manager, you lead the way for your team’s success – remember that.
As a middle manager, you act as the connection between upper management and entry-level staff – as mentioned above. You need to build relationships with your senior managers and the rest of your team, learn about each role and its responsibilities. When you understand each workload and how it fits into the businesses goals, you are better able to aid in the fulfilment of those goals.
By building a stronger relationship with your manager, you are making it easier to advocate for your team and celebrate their achievements. You can also keep the channels of communication open between you and your manager, which makes it easier for either party to reach out if they are looking for support.
By cultivating a relationship of mutual trust and respect with your team, you can create an atmosphere where your team feels that they can talk to you and provide feedback. Constructive feedback can be instrumental in improving business processes, and on a personal level, it can show you what works and what doesn’t in terms of your management style.
While your job may be incredibly challenging, try to remember that you are a vital cog in the machine. Your role is important to both upper management and your team. You get to help cultivate careers by encouraging your team members to grow and succeed. If you take on board the above advice, you are sure to excel in your middle management role.