7 Useful Middle-Level Management Tips

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Succeeding in middle-level management

Middle-level management is thought to be one of the levels where one has to learn how to balance expectations and people. It is typically the level below senior management and above lower levels of an organisation. At mid-level management, you will be responsible for an entire department and this means that there will be people who need your guidance while you must remain accountable to top level management. Therefore, you need to have excellent skills to ensure that those working under you are motivated, skilled, and fully engaged for you to be successful.

Typically, the most important skill at this level is seldom technical. Instead, your people-management skills will get you the results you need with minimum friction. Here are important skills that you will not even learn in top MBA schools;

  1. Listening is more important than talking

Be an active listener

 

It has been said many times that you have two ears to listen more and one mouth to talk less. Well, that is absolutely true in management. Your subordinates deal with customers and other stakeholders all the time. They know what needs to be done and from their experiences, they can offer a wealth of information about how to solve that little problem that has been giving you sleepless nights. Moreover, listening more will help you hear what is not being said and you will be more informed for it.

Most people mistake leadership with the absolute right to be heard but you will rarely learn something new from always talking. Listen more, ask more questions, be intuitive, and always ask for clarification. This way, you will gain a lot of information and you will be able to make more informed decisions.

  1.   Sometimes you have to tolerate undesirable habits

Be accommodative

Karis is the top performer in your department. In fact, he manages to hit all his targets by the middle of the quarter. However, he just can never come to work on time and if you need him in a meeting, you better lie to him that it is starting 30 minutes earlier. Apart from that, there is really nothing else wrong with him. In this case, you are allowed to be more lenient with him in terms of time management.

However, this does not mean that you can look the other way if he delays other people’s work, is condescending, and totally impossible to work with. These are things that will eventually affect the productivity of other people on your team and should, therefore, not be overlooked. However, if some things like his ability to come to work on time, are your only issue, then you can look the other way. It may seem like favouritism but part of management is to learn personalities and work with individual needs and traits. Eventually, you will realise that you will have to tolerate something from almost everyone, as long as it does not affect productivity.

  1.    It is okay to be close to the people you manage

Establish close working relationships

Once upon a time, being in management meant creating a barrier between you and your subordinates. You only interacted with them when issuing orders or reprimanding them. The relationship was mechanical and fear-based and not much was really achieved.

Well, if you want to succeed in the modern organisation, it is important to build relationships with your subordinates as this will make it easy for them to approach you, take your guidance, and correct their behaviour. If you cannot form a relationship with your subordinates, no one will come to you when there is a problem or one is about to happen and you will always find yourself putting out fires you could have easily avoided.

  1.    Ask people to volunteer for the less glamorous tasks

Enlist volunteer services occassionally

People will often avoid unpopular tasks but at the end of the day, they have to be done. So, instead of assigning them, why not ask people to volunteer for them? Throw in some incentive like getting an extra day off or working from home. Volunteers are likely to be more committed to the task that those who have been forced to perform the task. Offer your support for even better results and you will find it easy to enlist volunteers whenever you have an unpopular task.

  1.  Avoid rumours and gossip

Avoid office gossip

It goes without saying that rumours and gossip tear apart relationships. It is even worse when those in management encourage such behaviour. Gossip and rumours within the workplace will often have missing bits and pieces. If someone wants to tell you something, make them provide evidence and ask them to repeat what they say in front of others. This way, you will avoid taking sides and having cliques, which only destroy relationships and slow down work.

  1.  Train people in such a way that they can replace you

Be a leader

Most people don’t want to work with subordinates who can challenge them. They see them as a threat and will often hire people who are less skilled or crash those who are more skilled. Well, this is detrimental because it will take a lot of personal effort on your part to get things done. Having skilled people around you is also good for your career because you will be hitting those targets like a boss and you will also learn from your team. Everyone wins so do not be sad about your subordinates being better than you. It works for your benefit.

Furthermore, realise that you cannot do it all by yourself. Empower your subordinates to take charge of their work and responsibilities. They will get better at it and you will spend less time keeping tabs on them and more on doing what matters.

  1.       Don’t be afraid to go hard on your subordinates

Offer constructive criticism

The general rule is that you should incentivize people to perform well and praise them when they do a good job. Well, while that motivates people to work harder, sometimes you have to go hard on people when their performance is below par. You have to be firm and let them know that you expect better results. It is not likely to be as effective as giving praise, but it is absolutely necessary.

Middle-level management can be challenging as it involves handling the expectations of senior management while ensuring that your subordinates are doing their job. Therefore, it is important to learn how to be in charge of your team so as to get the best results.

Njeri Karanja
Njeri is a reading and creative writing enthusiast who is neck-deep in research writing. She is well versed in researching and writing on various topics.

90 COMMENTS

  1. I agree to a certain extent on the point of tolerating undesirable habits however let it not be on an issue of discipline, How do you tolerate lateness just because someone meets their targets? Fact 1, Everyone if and when possible is supposed to meet their targets. Fact 2; Time Management is an element that has been designed to be complied with regardless of performance, seniority etc. If a company’s’ reporting time is 9.00 am, its 9.00 am not 10.00 am? Turning a blind eye on an issue such as this one may lead to de-motivation for the rest of the team.

    • Hi Mercy,
      We agree with you. It is obviously not good to let people get away with standard procedures. What we imply here is that those issues that do not affect staff morale or how the team perceives the treatment of a person can be tolerated to a certain extent.
      ^NK

  2. Sure, this is an incredible article. Any professional craving for impeccable performance in their management duties must learn to incorporate the above.

    • Hi Joseph,
      Interesting. We appreciate your support too. Your enthusiasm on following our articles, leave us with no option but give you the best of reads.

  3. Thanks for always being on the fore front on the career information,
    the article is very educative and i do personally appreciate the efforts put forth,

    • Hi Wilberforce
      We are grateful you enjoyed reading the article. Keep it here for more educative tips on career development

  4. Awesome! AWESOME! AWESOME!
    Too great to be kept bymyself. Must share. Thanks a lot Brighter Monday for this valuable eye opener applicable lessons from Career Development.

    Gudos!

  5. U have indeed mentioned that exact things in it. Also, in the same level, when you nurture your subordinates and ‘pull’ them to your position, it works to your advantage, as they push you higher, to the other position.
    Tom

    • Thanks Tom,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
      We agree amongst those who are nurtured and fully understand and know the high roles, they end taking it. It always costs the company to bring new people on board every now and then and they fail to meet the expectation.

      ^TM

    • Hi Abigail,

      We are glad we inspired you. Keep your heads up for more educative inspiration on your career development.

    • Hi Hosea,
      We are glad you enjoyed reading the article. The Middle-level management can be challenging as it involves handling the expectations of senior management while ensuring that your subordinates are doing their job.

      We trust that the guidelines will go along way to teach you how to be in charge of your team so as to get the best results.

    • Hi Nelly,

      We are glad that the tips will guide you a long way in your career. Please follow the guidelines to see you in the top senior management level.

  6. This is very informative. I am in this current situation and leading a team that has more field experience than myself. I cant imagine how much courage and self believe you have built in me.
    Thanks alot keep writing useful articles.

  7. I have liked the article and you have done it on the right time in my case because I’m in the middle management level and am yearning to rise up the ranks.
    Now I’m wise than I was courtesy of your article.
    Regards,
    Samuel Kariuki

    • Thanks your feedback Simon.
      We endeavor to give relevant tips to jobseekers and also recruiters. Keep it here and you will become wiser.

      ^TM

    • Hi Edwin,
      We are glad you enjoyed reading the article. We strive to empower our users with useful tips and information revolving the job market. Keep your chin up for more. ^AN

    • Hi Kelvin,
      We are glad we inspired you. At least now you have the knowledge on what to do in helping you move to the senior level and also manage the juniors the right way. ^AN

    • Hi Timothy,
      Thank you so much for the positive feedback.

      We are glad that we inspired you the right way. Keep following our articles for more educative inspiration. ^AN

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