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3 Critical Skills Middle Managers Must Develop
Almost all organizations follow a top-down hierarchy, with senior administrators at the top, including CEOs and CFOs. The admins have essential roles in operating their core business processes and even running more than one organization or sister concerns. There is another vital role called middle manager, who oversees the day-to-day performances of various teams.
So, are you looking for an opportunity as a middle manager and willing to upgrade your skills to manage different teams efficiently? This article is just for you. We will help you learn the top 3 critical skills you need to master before pursuing a career in middle management. To maximize your chances of improving an organization's growth, you need to upskill in the areas (discussed below) and climb higher on the ladder of personal growth and success.
What is Middle Management?
Middle management is a group of managers in an organization whose positions are just one stage below the senior administrative managers. Middle managers are responsible for overlooking daily business operations and team activities.
Middle managers' roles include delegating tasks to employees depending on their strengths, hiring the right members, resolving inter-employee conflicts, retaining talented team players, keeping track of project deadlines and progress, and maintaining a positive work environment.
Why is Middle Manager Development Necessary?
In an organization, middle managers act as a bridge between teams and administrators and help to connect different teams across various strategic levels for a healthy, collaborative work culture. The role of a middle manager is to manage multiple functional groups and address an organization's complex development needs. They also face leadership challenges, especially when handling large teams.
Sadly, many companies still allocate their leadership development resources to the executive or frontline leaders. But the world is changing, so businesses need to mend their traditional methods and thought processes too. Organizations can’t just leave middle managers to learn independently from their experiences.
Upskilling and developing middle management skills are vital to enhancing productivity and boosting the company’s growth. In fact, middle managers are the developers of future executives and talents for your organization. So, look at the bigger picture. Therefore, middle management development by providing training sessions and organizing upskilling programs with successful mentors is a good investment.
3 Middle Management Skills You Need to Develop
Now, let’s jump straight into the 3 vital skills you need to master as a middle manager
1. Communication Skills
Communication is the key to maintaining transparency among team members and boosting a company's success. Not only in leadership or management, developing effective communication skills is a must for every professional - be it a sales rep or a team leader. If you are struggling to convey the desired message across the floor, your teams will not be able to understand or accomplish the goals.
As a middle manager, you need to develop excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, to maintain transparency among teams. Maintaining clear and strong communication minimizes any chances of misunderstandings or errors, thus building a healthy team spirit and efficiency.
By building good communication abilities, you are actually enhancing your accountability as a leader and relaying this spirit of sincerity and honesty among your key players. Actively listen to their concerns and be there for them. Share success stories of leaders to boost your teams’ motivation. In short, develop a strong bond between yourself and your team members to boost efficiency.
2. Problem-Solving Skills
Problem-solving is another key skill middle managers need to develop to solve complex problems and issues that may arise while handling day-to-day operations. Good problem-solving skills also ensure business continuity in emergencies or crises.
By developing good problem-solving skills, you can identify and define problems quicker, analyze and brainstorm the probable answers, and implement the most suitable solutions that would work. After identifying the problem, you also need to analyze the underlying causes and determine if there is any violation of rules or expectations. And always keep a Plan B if one of your proposed solutions fails to work due to unforeseen situations.
Furthermore, you need to address every employee’s queries and issues that they may raise from time to time, whether regarding a project or the workplace. You need to have a good presence of mind to solve their doubts immediately, to ensure a smooth workflow.
In short, as a middle manager, you need to think logically and arrive at a practical solution to a specific problem. You also need to plan ways to solve complicated problems faster, so they do not hamper the organization’s daily operations. Also, it’s a good habit to evaluate both the possible and proven outcomes to achieve long-term benefits for the company.
3. Leadership Skills
It goes without saying that developing good leadership skills is necessary to lead multiple teams and set oneself an example. Although professionals and managers may naturally develop leadership skills, it’s necessary to brush up on your skills as a competent leader. Being a responsible leader, a middle manager can efficiently oversee and manage a company’s operations, encourage teams to work towards the goals and appreciate the hard work of team players.
In short, as a leader, you need to be more empathetic towards your team members and understand their concerns, strengths and weaknesses, pain points, etc. Be a good listener and consider each of your team member’s suggestions. By attending to their individual ideas, you are conveying to them the message that they are valuable, which builds a strong team spirit and positive work culture.
Besides, it’s also important to set yourself as an example rather than simply passing instructions. Try to follow whatever you are preaching. The entire team is looking up to you as a role model, so keep in mind that your activities will be duplicated amongst your teams. So, it’s wise to involve yourself in only those actions that you want your team players to follow.
What’s more, as an accountable middle manager, you also need to develop your soft skills, such as identifying and addressing any resistance from team players, ensuring deadlines are being met, and reporting daily progress to the admins. It means you need to sharpen your emotional intelligence, attention-to-detail capabilities, and, of course, your communication skills to lead teams better and build engagement amongst employees.
In conclusion, mastering these key skills will help you achieve more success as a middle manager and boost your organization's growth. Besides, harnessing these skills will also boost your personal growth and give you a broader outlook. Middle manager development will help encourage your team members and keep you motivated about helping others succeed. That’s the beauty of leadership!
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