Middle Management Techniques
Middle managers face challenges from both superiors and subordinates. It is a tough job. Managing stress and maintaining a balance typically contribute to a manager’s long-term success. Successful management of other managers typically involves adopting techniques and strategies that promote collaboration and cooperation.
Establishing clear roles and responsibilities ensures that everyone in the organization knows who is accountable for what. This technique prevents stress, confusion and misunderstanding. Creating responsibility matrices, comprehensive project plans and clear business goals sets expectations and directs the work. Effective managers lead by example and set high standards. Additionally, a middle manager needs to take responsibility for the actions of his direct reports, because staff competency reflects on his ability to lead.
An effective middle manager usually develops skills in negotiation, influencing and decision-making to solve problems. These techniques help build a management team. Successful managers avoid showing favoritism to enable the best results, because morale and productivity suffer when confrontations between managers distract the workforce. Good communication, such as regular meetings, newsletters and reports, helps keep everyone informed and prevents workers from jumping to conclusions and fighting over limited resources. When conflict does erupt, handling it effectively involves getting the facts, establishing a position, negotiating a solution and maintaining relationships.
Establishing a recognition program demonstrates commitment to rewarding hard work and dedication. People appreciate being thanked, and managers of managers need to stress that success depends on appreciation of everyone’s contribution. Small gestures establish a positive atmosphere. This technique involves awarding certificates, giving gift cards or simply saying thanks. People at lower levels in the organization look up to middle managers to show their gratitude. It does not take much effort to make someone feel more like part of the team and inspire him to work harder. Successful middle managers also urge their direct reports to encourage cooperation and avoid unnecessary competition between employees. Lower employee turnover, higher productivity and greater job satisfaction often result from directives made by middle managers.
Effective middle managers recognize the benefit of employee development. They foster career planning and ensure that subordinates can take on new roles when opportunities for advancement arise. Succession planning ensures that the company has qualified personnel who are ready to take on leadership roles. Middle managers become executives by proving they have what it takes to lead and succeed. This includes ensuring the success of their subordinates.