What skills should I have to be successful in middle management?
Written on: 16 May 2019
Written by: Baltic Apprenticeships
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Middle level management requires a variety of skills, and arguably the most diverse within a business. They feel the pressure of those above them but also a different kind of pressure from those below them, essentially, they are the middlemen between the employees and the directors.
They are required to influence peers, navigate partnerships, whilst also finessing the strategy of their individual teams for the next quarter and so on.
Naturally, the first one that springs to mind is leadership, being in a position of authority over others, they are to set an example of the level of work and effort required in order to successfully and consistently work efficiently. Micromanagement is a thing of the past, and usually, paradoxically, demoralises the employee rather than ensuring they are keeping on top of their workloads. One theory about being a manager isn’t just dictating, but leading.
They need to have experience of being technical. Middle level managers are usually required to facilitate any changes needed in an organisation and creating an effecting working environment. Administering day-to-day routines, monitoring performance through stats, and making sure everything is done in compliance with the organisation’s needs.
Linking with leadership, another good skill to have is a level of human resources. Although not their role, having empathy and understanding is always an important skill to have as a manager, but not too much to be taken advantage of. One of the most important functions of a middle level manager is motivating, leading of course and inspiring their subordinates. They need to be trusted and valued enough for their employees to come to them with a problem early on, instead of letting it grow into a bigger one further down the line out of fear of upsetting their manager.
Communication is a core function for those in middle management, requiring the ability to think with clarity and express ideas and information to a multitude of audiences. Effective communication is also about digesting information, asking questions for a broader scope of information, and aligning the words and actions to convey messages. At work, we need to be skilled communicators in countless relationships — at the organisational level, and sometimes on a global scale. Today’s leaders must also learn to handle the rapid flows of information within the organisation and among customers, partners, and other stakeholders and influencers. This skill is especially the case in this situation as communications is required in both upward and downward converging.
Strategic thinking is another important skill to possess when becoming a middle level manager. This could involve analysing a subordinate group on their overall productivity and financial effectiveness, especially in marketing, creating a forward-thinking strategy plan of improving the current situation based off of an audit and reporting this to the executive management in the form of attending a boardroom meeting. They differ slightly from line managers who are responsible for individual performance as part of a bigger team whereas the middle level managers are responsible for large teams that the individuals make up collectively.