As you move up the company ladder, you may find yourself in a middle management position. While working in such a role, you are responsible for the productivity and success of junior-level employees. You may also work as someone who relays the messages of the company executives to the rest of your team. Here we discuss what else a middle manager does.
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What is middle management?
Middle management is an intermediary position between an entry-level employee and an executive-level employee. Entry- or associate-level employees report to middle managers while middle managers report to executive managers. Those in middle management positions tend to be a liaison between their team and their employer. They are responsible for ensuring that their team is aware of the company's objectives and are actively working toward them. It's their job to make sure their team's workflow is aligned with the company's processes and expectations.
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What does a middle manager do?
While the job duties of a middle manager tend to vary by company, there are common responsibilities most people in these positions have. Get to know the primary tasks of someone in middle management:
- Overseeing daily operations: Middle managers are responsible for managing the daily workflow of their team. Their goal is to make sure the day-to-day tasks of their staff are meeting the overall objectives of the company. While working in this role, you'll make sure employees are staying focused on their work.
- Setting team goals: Quality middle managers want to see that their team is succeeding. One way they do this is by helping each employee create personal goals. They often try to get employees to set goals that can lead to personal growth while simultaneously benefiting the company.
- Reporting employee productivity: Creating progress reports is a big part of a middle manager's job. Typically, they keep track of the work their team gets done. Then, they may present this to their employer or simply send it in a written report. Since the progress of their team reflects upon them, they work to make sure productivity levels are high.
- Hiring employees: Many middle managers have the authority to make hiring decisions. They may be responsible for creating job postings, reviewing application materials, interviewing candidates, and making a final hiring decision. They are typically the contact for job candidates and would be the person who they discuss their job offer with.
- Training employees: You would oversee the onboarding process for new hires. This means getting them acquainted with employee policies and procedures. As a middle manager, you would make sure new employees know how to do their job correctly. You may be responsible for creating training materials, such as employee handbooks or how-to guides.
- Giving performance reviews: Having one-on-one meetings with your staff to discuss their performance is a common part of this role. During a performance review, you'll go over your team member's strengths, weaknesses, achievements, and goals. You'll discuss what they have been doing well lately and what they could improve.
- Creating team budgets: While you may not be responsible for the budget of the entire company, you are often tasked with making a budget for your team or department. Middle managers account for the tools and resources their team needs to get all of their projects done and be as efficient as possible.
- Relaying company announcements: This is especially common in large companies. A middle manager meets with the executive team to learn about new company initiatives. Then, they are responsible for reporting this information to their team. They may also be in charge of implementing any changes within the operations of the company.
- Setting a good example: Your employer expects you to be a role model for junior staffers. Middle managers need to show their team what a quality employee looks like. This means coming to work on time, having a good work ethic, and being productive during working hours.
Tips for being an effective middle manager
Follow this advice if you want to thrive in a middle management position:
- Encourage open communication. Show your team that you care about any questions or concerns they may have. Always be open to hearing about any challenges or issues your team members may encounter. Be their voice of reason, while also reporting serious matters to human resources.
- Be empathetic. This means that you are actively working to understand the emotions and feelings of your team. When assigning tasks or projects, think about how this might affect your staff. Try to be fair when delegating work, making sure you don't put all the challenging tasks on one person. If you see any employee is struggling, try to find ways to help and ease any burdens they may be facing.
- Build a tight-knit team. When employees get to know one another, they tend to collaborate more efficiently. That's because everyone has a better understanding of each other's working styles and habits. Build a stronger team through team bonding activities. Asking icebreaker questions, planning after-work events, or even scheduling team lunches are all ways you can help your team grow closer.
- Improve your leadership skills. Taking a leadership class can help you develop the skills you need to be a great manager. Sign up for courses that focus on team motivation and mentoring strategies. Also, find ways to improve your communication and interpersonal skills.
- Ask for feedback. Along with giving your team feedback during performance reviews, ask them to rate you as a manager. You could send out anonymous surveys that ask employees to assess your strengths and weaknesses. By encouraging honest feedback, you can learn what you are already doing well and what you can improve upon.
- Keep your team in the loop. Whenever your company is experiencing changes, update your team as soon as possible. Be open and honest about where the company is headed. Employees will appreciate your honesty and may even see it as a sign of respect. Of course, be mindful of what information should remain private.