Just as there seems to be a glut of ‘accidental managers’ today, the post of middle manager has seen some changes that are somewhat worrying. Of course, promotion from base level management to the middle level should be something that deserves recognition, but what about those unfortunate individuals who are not ready for this leap of faith – and the additional power it brings? This article looks at some tips that can help to avoid the potential pitfalls for an under-trained professional who suddenly finds themselves in a higher position, without the correct tools to do justice to the role.
If you can spot potential in junior managers, and feel that they could be in line for promotion in the not-too-distant future, why not prepare them accordingly? By enrolling them on the correct courses and offering mentoring opportunities, they will soon start developing their skills. By investing in their future, you will also be adding serious value to your own role, and the business as a whole will benefit.
If you train your new middle management in the art of using, for example, social media in the workplace, they will respond in kind. By utilising the myriad of web-based communications platforms, you are arming them with the tools not only to survive, but also to succeed. Once they learn how to take advantage of these powerful tools and connect with the huge potential audience, your middle managers will be able to reduce your workload and help to build lasting relationships with customers and suppliers.
Instilling a leadership mindset in your middle managers is vital if they are to do well in their new role. Leadership behaviour and self-awareness are key to achieving the objectives that any successful business aims for. Once they are able to develop trust and motivate their own staff, they can start to obtain the results that they should be focussing on. Their own personal accomplishment needs to be replaced by aiming for similar goals on a team level.
Time, Not Money
The investment of time is something that you must be prepared to make, once you have chosen and promoted your new middle managers. It will take months, even years, to hone the skills that they will need. Quite often we forget this and try to squeeze a huge amount of training into a month or two, and the results are frequently nothing short of disastrous. Leadership training should be paramount, and if that means taking your middle manager away from their day to day tasks, then so be it. You will achieve nothing by rushing this delicate process, so remember to forget about the bottom line for a little while.
Instead of throwing an old manual in the direction of your new middle managers, look at a modern approach and try to enrol them on a cutting edge course that teaches more than just a few well-worn methodologies. These professionals could one day be at the helm of your business, so don’t cut corners – they could one day repay you many times over.
About the Author
Harry Price is a Freelance writer living on the south coast, with his wife and 3 dogs. In his spare time he trains for marathons, rock climbs and teaches english to foreign students.
Photo credit: Keith Kamisugi