Have you noticed a gradual (or sudden) breakdown among members of the management team within your company?
These issues can often be attributed to ineffective management practices in upper management or a lack of knowledge or proper training for employees on the ground level. However, it is likely that this breakdown originated in the middle levels of your company, with the managers left there to fend for themselves.
What Happened to Our Mid-Level Managers?
Somewhere along the way, mid-level managers have gone from being mere delegators to wearing a variety of different hats within any given company.
Mid-level managers must answer to upper management, senior executives, and their team members, leaving them to dance a very fine, often-unforgiving line. Although they fill a crucial role between individual contributors and upper management, the compensation of many mid-level managers isn’t much higher than a lower-level employee—and they’re often carrying the brunt of the workload.
A Recipe for High Stress
Meeting the needs of their employees while simultaneously trying to satisfy members of upper management (who are often completely disconnected from what team members on the lower rungs of the company are experiencing) puts significant stress on mid-level managers. Because they are unable to satisfy everyone, feelings of inadequacy and high levels of stress are commonplace among managers in the middle.
With countless responsibilities heaped on their plates (and more people to answer to than they could ever possibly please), mid-level managerial problem-solvers are left feeling burned out and overworked. While lower-level employees are responsible only for their own success, managers must also take responsibility for the success of their team—or be disciplined when their teams fall short of expectations.
Over time, upper management may begin to doubt the abilities of their mid-level managers. This lack of confidence leaves mid-level managers doubting themselves, which inevitably leads to more mistakes and more executive-level frustration. The cycle just goes around and around, leaving mid-level management in a worse position after every pass.
A High Turnover Rate
People can only handle so much stress before it begins to take a toll on their health and overall well-being. When mid-level managers dread going to work, they may lose their sense of loyalty to the company and begin to seek employment elsewhere. Some research says that even the majority of mid-level managers who enjoy their jobs plan to leave their current positions within the next two years, a fact that speaks volumes about the way mid-level management positions are viewed.
The High Cost to Your Company
With so many demands and expectations placed on mid-level managers, the loss of even just one of these individuals can have a huge effect on your company.
These managers are heavily relied upon to act as the link between the lower levels and upper levels of your business, meaning that losing any one of them compromises your company’s structure. This can result in certain goals being postponed until a new manager can be brought in to fill the empty spot.
High turnover also costs you time and money, two things you’d probably prefer to keep. Is there a solution to this ever-growing problem? In fact, there are several things you can do to reinvigorate and empower your mid-level management.
- Strengthen from Within: In most companies, new managers, and company executives receive the most training, and mid-level managers are left out in the cold. Make more training available to your middle managers. The training you provide needs to be tailored to fit the requirements of their specific role within the company. Upper-level management also needs to maintain an open dialogue with mid-level management to make sure problems and expectations are communicated effectively. This will help everyone stay on the same page.
- Recognize Accomplishments: Rather than judging them based solely on the success of their teams, take the time to recognize mid-level managers for a job well done. Employees tend to work harder and be more loyal when they feel appreciated. Take the time to get to know your people as individuals and offer them praise, rewards, or any other type of recognition that will help them stay motivated to keep up the hard work.
- Give Them Wings: Finally, instead of micromanaging their every move, give your mid-level managers a little freedom to pursue their visions—and then watch them thrive. You need them more than they need you, so take the time to make them feel like they matter and see your team’s productivity soar.