As organizations have been forced to operate more efficiently in order to maintain their edge in an increasingly competitive environment, more business owners and executives are recognizing the important role played by middle managers. This key group is responsible not only for the implementation of an organization’s vision and strategy, but also for the assessment and resolution of issues and challenges that can make a critical difference in the successful execution of company initiatives.
Middle managers are the primary link between upper management and the rest of the organization – supervisors, leads and frontline workers. Middle managers’ roles usually include a wide variety of tasks that are applicable to all departments within most organizations, including:
- Planning and implementing the work of their teams
- Supporting team effectiveness
- Defining and monitoring performance indicators
- Diagnosing and resolving problems within and among work groups
- Facilitating communication and cooperative behavior
Middle managers may also be asked to report performance results and statistics to upper management and offer suggestions and recommendations for improvement. Direct involvement in the day-to-day operations often creates opportunities for middle management to provide valuable information that can not only help improve an organization’s processes and procedures but also influence future strategic decisions.
Because middle managers are required to work with virtually all levels of an organization, from upper management to frontline workers, their effectiveness is dependent on critical leadership skills, including interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to inspire, motivate and mentor. As business owners and executives increasingly recognize the important role of middle managers in the success of their organizations, they are also appreciating the importance of leadership development and training as a critical component in the effectiveness of their managers. Providing ongoing training and support not only to managers but also to downline employees to prepare them to step into management roles can generate big returns to organizations that recognize the value of investing in their workforce.