Aside from senior executives, the greatest determinant of your business successfully pulling off a large-scale change or innovation rests directly on the shoulders of your mid-level managers.
Unfortunately, even though they operate at an integral point between senior executives and front-line employees, most mid-level managers do not receive the recognition they deserve.
So how do you help your managers see the importance of their role? How do you give them confidence and help them understand their influence? How do you help them realize their value?
The five worthwhile investments below provide mid-level managers with the training and tools they need to be successful, and with their accomplishments comes prosperity that will trickle throughout your entire organization.
1) Invest in Training
Because they are often left to learn their jobs without enough initial (or ongoing) training, managers can begin to feel overwhelmed very quickly. With a high volume of work, a lot of hands-on people management, and much pressure to deliver on high expectations, it’s easy for middle managers to get bogged down.
There are a variety of options in training for managers (such as online courses, conferences, retreats, and mentorship programs) that will teach your managers pertinent leadership skills and increase their chances of success on the job.
Strategic leadership development skills can include:
- Strategic Thinking
- Analysis and Assessments
- Effective Communication and Public Speaking
- Delegation and Accountability
- Team-Building and Conflict Resolution
- Flexibility and Managing Change
Remember, learning and developing these skills isn’t necessarily a one-time event; mastering the art of great leadership requires a regular, long-term investment and a personal willingness to grow.
2) Invest in Communication
Being open, approachable, honest, and respectful in your communication with your mid-level managers is a key investment.
Providing regular feedback so your managers know where they stand and don’t feel lost should be standard protocol. Middle managers require feedback from both executive leaders and the employees they lead. When they receive it, it will help to boost their engagement levels, leadership skills, and performance standards.
In fact, according to the 2013 survey findings of SHRM and Globoforce
- 94% of organizations believe positive feedback has a great impact on improving performance.
- Only 6% of organizations believe negative feedback has an impact on improving performance.
- 90% of organizations believe that the combined feedback of executives, peers, and subordinates provides a more-accurate picture of your MLM’s performance.
3) Invest in Morale
Molding better middle managers require a solid investment in their morale. Look at your own management style and leadership qualities. Are you just talking the talk?
Typically, mid-level managers work long hours and are burdened by a lot of demands. Encourage them to achieve better work-life balance. Consider reducing work hours on Fridays, offering gym memberships, and encouraging them to take their vacation days.
Above all, say “Thank You” and sincerely mean it.
4) Invest in Safety
Optimize safety programs. Regularly conduct non-performance-related safety-coaching sessions. Help your employees accept responsibility in their own operations.
Investing in your managers’ vital safety issues and expectations will allow discernible, positive changes to take place; on-the-job performance can be directly attributed to on-the-job safety practices.
5) Invest in Strategy
Remember that mid-level managers are a key factor in determining your business’ success with change and innovation. Their wide-angle view of the inner workings of your company gives them a distinct advantage when it comes to successfully strategizing and navigating through a new path. Listen to their comments and take their suggestions seriously. You might be surprised at their creative and intuitive solutions.
Take a hard look at your managers. Are they engaged, happy, productive, and confident? If they seem to be struggling, your business will suffer. However, if you make these five investments, you will see a substantial payoff from your mid-level managers.