Irony Of Middle Management
One of the common concerns of any scaling team is that while the stakeholders ensure themselves with a great set of leadership and they in turn recruit a battalion of teams under them to do the work, there is one lacuna…the chaos and confusion in the middle management!
The disenchanted middle management scenario is a result of widening gaps in communication and connection between the managers and themselves.
Often, great work done by the team goes without credit, buried under the hierarchy structure and lack of appreciation.
Second, despite ability in the teams and readiness to accomplish good work, there is a lot of confusion about what to do as there is no clarity passed on to them from their managers.
It is clearly indicative of how important it is for the leadership team to share the purpose of why they are doing what they do…and how the message needs to be passed on with the same passion to every member of the teams, no matter the number of layers adding up in the middle.
This is how you reinstate ownership and accountability, which is paramount to the efficiency of the teams.
Unfortunately, much of what is conveyed to the managers from the top in terms of the purpose is typically withheld from teams, for the manager may not personally value the significance of the message for teams reporting to them to understand. It becomes less and less significant in their discussions. And that is where a gamut of internal communications issues show up.
What will you do
When you do not have a purpose
You stop steering…
As there is no winds of motivation to sail your course.
In the case of the middle managers sandwiched in between, they soon have no sense of purpose, they are frequently found working in circles without direction.
They may seem busy doing mundane chores to fill their workdays, and go back home every day a little more disengaged and disconnected with the system.
In my professional career as a Consultant & having been involved in the organizational development up close, I have encountered such scenarios where the value of transparency in teams in their shared work as well as the vision & purpose of the leader is regularly lost in the daily rut of routine. Between filling forms and answering mails, much of the work today has become impersonal.
I believe the role of the middle management is crucial in managing change, for they can bridge the gap between expectations from the strategic objectives and key results set from the top to match with the speed and efficiency of actual day-to-day activities’ integration.
An engaged, informed, and knowledgeable middle management would mean a lot to the stability of a growing organization. It is a huge balancing act between managing to sustain through the changes and managing policies practices and procedures ensuring compliance and come away stronger.
It is important for the key stakeholders to have a conversation that sets clarity on the value for the middle management in the system and expectations from them.
They need to know how much interconnected they actually are in driving changes. They also need to become more self-aware and understand the intricacies of working beyond biases and prejudices that may come along while they understand the power structure of their respective organization.
Beyond good communication skills, they will have to develop their expertise in networking with their seniors as well as their teams.
The responsibility on the middle management is demanding as the role is expanding to include the implementation of changes in the system as well as managing the cultural changes.
This can happen best when the senior management is aware of the challenges faced by the middle management, like time in planning to execution. They can best help fasten this process by direction support and feedbacks while realizing the strategic value of the middle managers.
Every level of management is intrinsically interwoven and important to the whole. In recognizing their individual strengths as well working in the spirit of collaboration, teams begin to evolve.
What do you think of the prevailing practices at work?