Sunday, October 18, 2009

Middle Managers - Keep The Engine Running

What is the purpose and role of a middle manager? What exactly are they supposed to do?

The answers to these two questions are answered through an understanding of how your organisation works.

Example - In my organisation there are four tiers of employees. The top level has the CE and then all the way down to the front line staff. So the levels are - CE, Directors, Managers then staff.

By examining this structure the middle manager can begin to understand what their role entails.

The manager needs to know a few basic things before they can begin - the strategy and purpose of the organisation, then what their direct line managers role is and on to what the employees are tasked with achieving. These factors will help to determine the what and the how of the role.

In my organisation the managers role is to - ensure the CE's strategy is carried out, the Director's tasks are completed and the employees fulfill their tasks with excellence.

There is no one right way for any of these tasks to be completed by the middle manager. Similarly there is no one right way to be a Director or an employee.

Here a few ideas to make the task easier -

  1. Know your organisation. Get a feel for what customers and stakeholders think the organisation does and also internal persons as well.

  2. Learn what the overall KPI's for your department are.

  3. Find out what departmental KPI's are directly relevant to your role.

  4. Establish responsibilities, delegate tasks and empower your employees to achieve the KPI's you are responsible for. Allow and coach your employees do the work.

This is the best place to start. Through understanding what you are being held accountable for - you can begin to assess your department/team/employees - and then gear up to achieve success.

In a nutshell - the middle manager exists to keep the engine finly tuned, well oiled and running.

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