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Frustrations of middle management

Middle management can sometimes be a funny place to be. Very often you are senior enough to make big decisions, lead teams, and have a great deal of responsibility but maybe do not have a lot of power to make organisational changes.

I work with many middle managers and sometimes the issue coming into the role is that technically you may be very competent, but you may need development on the leadership characteristics your organisation wants you to have. You have maybe got to your role because you are ‘good at your job’ and now you realise with a team in tow, that you have pressures from your team, your superiors and your peers. This can be highly stressful particularly if the infrastructure is not there to provide mentoring, coaching or your superior is also not equipped to help you.

This can result in stress, poor performance, and poor motivation amongst your team, if not dealt with. Perhaps you feel your ideas are not valued, you are overlooked a promotion, you are overworked, you need guidance if you are new – on leading team, you are under pressure to deliver results and ensure your team is happy. Here are just a few tips that may help:

Realise that getting help is not a sign of weakness. Many organisations expect some degree of self-sufficiency and in fact recognising you may need extra help is a strength.

Look at what your role models do in your organising. What gets rewarded and recognised? What values does your organisation work to? You can also look outside your organisation and industry and figure out who you look up to and why.

  • Start with the end in mind – where do you want to be in two or three years? Understand that and work backwards. Do an analysis of what skills you may need to acquire
  • Get outside support. A coach for you, and/or your team, a mentor or attend courses to develop the non-technical skills of your role
  • Start to read books and articles around middle management and the issues you are currently facing
  • Speak to your line manager – show willing and do your homework by looking at what existing resources your company has. Sometimes your company provides a mentoring scheme and has a wealth of information on an intranet. Find out what training and development you can expect and what budget there is for it
  • Find systems to deal with workload and stress if those are the issues. There are hundreds of techniques to help you. And make sure you are getting your team involved – don’t carry the workload yourself
  • Get input from your team. It is a sign of strong management and leadership to empower others around you to contribute ideas that will lead to team success.

Credits: Sarah Jones

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