Middle managers are crucial to the success of a company. But “managing in the middle” can be challenging, especially as the workplace changes, mid-level managers take on additional authority, and organizational charts become flatter. What does it take to add value on a day-to-day basis?
Mediate and Communicate
Walk a mile in the other person’s shoes. As a middle manager, this refers to two different sets of people: your employees and your bosses.
- Be the liaison. Try to understand what both sides want and need – and find common ground where results are achieved and everyone stays motivated and satisfied.
- Be candid and transparent. Share as much information as possible with your employees. Beating around the bush and avoiding the hard truth is counterproductive and a deterrent to their morale and growth.
- Show empathy. The days of checking your feelings at the door when you arrive at work are gone. You should care deeply about your team and express that empathy through your words and actions. Take care not to step on anyone as you progress up the corporate ladder.
Do the Hard Stuff
Take on projects that no one else wants and make them happen. Listen to your boss and find out what you can do to advance the company’s objectives, even if it means handling responsibilities that you wouldn’t otherwise seek out. This:
- Gives you exposure to new areas of and opportunities to hone new skills.
- Provides a chance to work with your manager and in doing so, build trust and solidify your relationship.
Take the High Road
Stay positive and be a leader in enhancing employees’ workday mood and overall morale. Research has proven that when people display happiness, others also feel happy.
- Reset negative moods. Acknowledge that not everyone is “up” all the time, yourself included. Then, be the pacesetter in lifting spirits and with them, performance and productivity.
- Practice small acts of kindness. Does an employee need to leave early or take an extended lunch in order to catch their child’s school play? Will a plate of bagels or desserts boost spirits as a crucial project deadline looms? Be the bearer of good news – and on occasion, something yummy and freshly-baked.
- Compliment early and often. Listen more than you speak. Offer praise, compliments and encouragement. Critique only when necessary.
Grow as a Pro
By networking and advancing your professional growth, you’ll be more confident and satisfied. As a result, you will lead more successfully.
- Network inside your company. Get to know employees in all areas of your organization. Join the interoffice softball league and eat lunch with people from a variety of departments. These connections will help you get work done more efficiently and also spark new ideas.
- Network outside your company. Develop a robust professional world by joining industry associations, attending conferences and networking events and becoming active in career-focused social media groups.
- Request training opportunities. Explore courses and workshops to keep your skills fresh and develop new ones.
The career coaches at Alternative Staffing can partner with you as you progress along your career path. To learn more about resources and opportunities in North Charleston and beyond, contact us today.