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Middle Managers Series: What they want

Last month we began a new monthly series delving into the MIDDLE MANAGER. The challenges faced by middle managers highlighted in last month’s blog reflect the evolving nature of work in today’s dynamic business environment. Certainly, understanding what managers want is crucial when addressing the issues they face in today’s fast-paced business environment.

This month we focus on some key managers’ desires and potential solutions. Middle managers want autonomy, recognition, learning opportunities, and experiences.

Middle managers crave autonomy in their decision-making processes. Trust managers to make decisions within their areas of responsibility. Encourage a culture of experimentation and learning from failures, allowing managers to innovate without fear of severe repercussions.

Empowering them to take responsibility for their teams and projects enhances their sense of ownership and accountability. Trust their judgment and give them the freedom to experiment and innovate.

In addition to increasing managers’ autonomy, consider flattening organizational hierarchies. Explore flatter organizational structures that promote collaboration and agility. Encourage collaborative decision-making processes where input from various levels of the organization is valued. Middle managers should feel empowered to contribute ideas and suggestions, fostering a culture of innovation.

Managers appreciate recognition for their efforts and achievements. Implementing performance management systems, incentive programs, and regular feedback mechanisms can boost morale and motivation. Rethink transparent performance evaluation methods to incorporate soft skills and contributions to team dynamics, recognizing both individual and team achievements. Encourage a more holistic approach that recognizes the diverse talents and qualities managers bring to their roles. Establish regular feedback mechanisms, including performance evaluations and one-on-one meetings, to provide constructive feedback and recognize managers’ achievements. Encouraging open communication helps in addressing concerns and fostering a positive work environment.

Bonuses, raises, and promotions are essential for acknowledging managers’ dedication and hard work. Ensure managers are compensated fairly with competitive salaries, bonuses, and opportunities for promotions. Regular salary reviews and transparent communication about compensation policies are essential. Fair and competitive financial incentives are vital for retaining top managerial talent. Establish performance recognition programs that acknowledge managers for their achievements. This could include regular awards, public acknowledgments, or peer nominations, creating a positive work environment. Recognition programs, career growth opportunities, and meaningful incentives can boost morale and motivation. 

Learning opportunities are highly valued. Providing access to training programs, workshops, and skill development courses keeps managers updated with industry trends and enhances their leadership capabilities. Invest in training programs to enhance managerial skills, focusing on areas such as emotional intelligence, effective communication, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills. Equipping them with these skills enhances their ability to manage teams efficiently.

Work with managers to create individual development plans tailored to their career goals. Then provide mentorship and coaching to help them progress in their careers within the organization. Mentorship programs where experienced senior leaders guide middle managers and peer support networks are valuable, providing a platform for sharing experiences and learning from one another.

Practical experiences contribute significantly to managers’ growth. Assigning challenging projects, cross-functional collaborations, and leadership roles in diverse initiatives provide valuable hands-on learning experiences. Promote a culture of continuous learning and professional development. Provide access to online courses, workshops, and seminars that enhance managerial skills and keep managers updated with industry best practices.

Cross-functional experiences and innovative learning initiatives are vital practical experiences for middle managers. Encourage managers to participate in cross-functional projects and collaborate with teams from different departments. These experiences broaden their skill set and perspective, enhancing their problem-solving abilities. Explore innovative learning initiatives such as job rotations, mentorship programs, and experiential workshops. These initiatives provide managers with diverse experiences and skill development opportunities.

In summary, addressing the challenges faced by middle managers requires a multifaceted approach that combines autonomy, recognition, learning opportunities, and experiences. By implementing these solutions, organizations can create a supportive and empowering environment for middle managers. When you empower middle managers and provide them with the necessary support, organizations can leverage their potential as catalysts for positive change, leading to higher productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall organizational success.

Stay tuned for How to Explain HR to Managers next month…

Contact us for more information about Manager trainings we offer.


Read more from our MIDDLE MANAGERS SERIES:

The challenges faced by middle managers

Some key managers’ desires and potential solutions

How to explain HR to managers

1st-time managers often are ill-prepared for their new role

Caring for Caregivers: A Manager’s Guide to Supporting Employees in Their Caregiving Roles

Tips for New Managers Who Are Now Supervising Their Former Peers

Managing Difficult Employees and Disruptive Behaviors: A Comprehensive Guide for HR Professionals

Developing Management