What Is Middle Management?
Have you or someone you know ever been promoted within a hierarchical organization? Whether you become a business manager or a team leader, there are many different management levels and types.
Career development within a company usually starts with middle-level management. Middle managers are typically responsible for communicating between top-level and lower levels. We will offer a middle management definition, explain the duties of a mid-level manager, and share tips to improve.
What is middle-level management?
Middle management, or front line management, is a role above being an entry-level employee and a top management employee. Entry-level employees report to middle managers, who then report to executive managers. An example might be a team leader.
The top manager might be in charge of designing and implementing new information, policies, and duties. The middle manager then will delegate tasks to their team.
In turn, the team on the front lines will make direct reports to their middle manager, who will communicate with the executives. A middle manager is also responsible for ensuring that their team knows its objectives and values.
What does a middle manager do?
The role of middle-level management can differ significantly from organization to organization. However, the typical duties might include overseeing day-to-day operational tasks.
1. Overseeing daily operations
Middle-level management roles are responsible for their team's day-to-day performance and productivity. The responsibilities might also include general business administration.
Within an organizational hierarchy, it's the responsibility of the middle manager to make sure their team works efficiently. Plus, they need to act as a point of contact for the team about any worries.
2. Setting team goals
Good middle-level managers will set achievable but challenging goals for their team to succeed. They might help create individual plans for each employee and larger targets for the whole team to hit. These aims should both help the employee and the company succeed.
3. Reporting productivity
One of the critical middle management functions is to keep track of their team’s work and create progress reports. Either they will present it to the top-level managers or include it in a written statement. As the productivity level reflects on them, the middle manager usually makes a significant effort to improve productivity.
4. Hiring employees
Human resource management is typically in charge of hiring. However, middle-level managers often work with human relations to take on new staff. They might draw up the job description, advertisement, help shortlist candidates, run the interview, and have the final say.
As well as hiring, the middle manager might also be involved in onboarding and training the new candidate. Training requires middle managers to be well-versed with a company's values and goals.
6. Performance reviews
Performance reviews are a regular part of middle management roles. You’ll sit down with your employees in one-to-ones, discussing strengths, weaknesses, and how they can improve going forward. As part of line management, they will also address any employee concerns.
A middle manager will not be responsible for the overall company’s budget. However, they might be in charge of the team or department budget and make strategic plans.
8. Relaying company announcements
In larger companies, middle managers are responsible for relaying announcements or new policies to their team. The middle manager will meet with the senior management and then communicate an overview to their team.
9. Being a role model
While everyone has different management styles, a middle manager needs to set a good example. Their employees should be able to follow their lead.
What is an example of a middle manager?
General managers, branch managers, and department managers are considered middle managers. Lower-level managers tend to be in intermediary positions between the top and entry-level employees. Therefore, there can be a hierarchical range of middle managers.
For example, they might include both team leaders and department heads. The team leaders would each report to the department head in this case. The department head would then communicate with the executive managers.
What is the difference between middle managers and operational managers?
Operational managers are the senior executives in charge of the company. Typically, operational managers will be responsible for overseeing the entire company’s operations. They will manage the company’s goals and organizational performance.
On the other hand, lower managers are in charge of executing the goals decided by those higher up. They might be a project manager or supply chain manager; their job is to implement strategies to meet the overall company goals.
What are the benefits of having a middle manager?
Most larger companies have an organizational structure that includes middle managers. However, smaller companies often don’t have the resources to include a middle manager.
Yet, the value of middle management within the hierarchy is understated. Firstly, it paves the way for clear communications. If everyone within the company has a strong understanding of their role and responsibilities, they will better communicate.
Secondly, there is a coordination of effort. The middle manager brings added skills and experiences to the company. Plus, as the senior manager has many other responsibilities and priorities, they don’t always have the time to dedicate to the lower levels. Middle management professionals bridge the gap.
How to be an effective middle manager
To be successful in a middle management role, you need to understand the challenges of your junior staff. You can become a good middle manager by recognizing your job responsibilities, communicating effectively, aligning your values, asking for feedback, and improving your leadership skills.
Step 1: Understand your job responsibilities
Middle managers are crucial for effective communication within an organization. They pass information and policy details from senior levels to the lower levels. Understanding the critical points of your middle management responsibilities will make your work more effective and successful. Other duties might also include:
- Developing teamwork.
- Conflict resolution.
- Delegating tasks.
- Mentoring lower levels.
- Setting goals.
- Reporting success to senior levels.
To improve within your management teams, take stock of where you can improve. Which of your responsibilities do you excel at? Which do you struggle with?
Step 2: Communicate and connect with those above
Communication skills are essential for a middle management role. Build a relationship with those in upper management positions. Learn about their roles and responsibilities so you help them succeed.
When you have a good relationship with your manager, it will be easier to help your team succeed. With open communication channels, you will both be in a better position to support each other. Plus, you will advocate for your team and anticipate new opportunities.
Step 3: Align your values with your company’s
Understanding your company’s policies, values, and goals is imperative to being a successful middle manager.
Evaluate your company’s goals and how your aims and values relate. You might be surprised by how easily you can fit your objectives with your organization.
However, if your aims differ from those of the company, create a plan to shift your mindset. Believing in your company will help you implement these within your team, improving their productivity.
Step 4: Ask for feedback from your team
No manager is perfect without asking for feedback from your team. Managers tend to lead without requesting feedback, no matter their leadership roles. Yet, every team is different. Therefore, diverse teams require distinct leadership styles.
Ask your team what they think of your management. Do team members have suggestions for improvements? What do they think you do well? Don’t just request feedback from above, but from below too.
Step 5: Improve your leadership skills
To improve your leadership skills, you need to individually address your organizational, communication, active listening, and interpersonal skills.
Mid-level management requires many of the same skills as those in executive management. All management responsible for others should improve both their hard and soft skills.
You might even want to consider attending business school to see how you can better help your organization.
Step 6: Take leadership training
There are many training courses where you can learn about management studies and leadership development. Courses for Success run a Middle Management Online Certificate Course. This introduction to management teaches you how to implement your management skills in the workplace to be a better middle manager.
The learning objectives include using organizational strategies to implement change and understanding ethics in the workplace. It’s a comprehensive course that only takes 6-8 hours.
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You don’t need career diplomas or specific experience to get started. From our coding courses and trading courses to design courses and developer courses, every course we offer will help boost your prospects, no matter who you are.
Beyond just the education itself, students will be issued a certificate online after completing each of the learning courses they do. Our online middle management courses are no exception and are recognized by industry leaders. You could make a name for yourself by signing up for a Courses for Success short course today