The Critical Middle: The Importance of Empowering Middle Managers
The Critical Middle, aka Middle Managers, are the backbone of any organization, responsible for executing strategies and ensuring that the organization’s goals are being met. They are the critical link between the top-level management and frontline employees, responsible for interpreting the company’s vision, strategies, and initiatives to their teams. Middle managers are also responsible for ensuring effective change management, implementing process changes, and shaping the company’s culture and protocols.
Despite their importance, middle managers are often overlooked and undervalued. They are seen as a means to an end rather than a crucial component of the organization’s success. This view is especially true when it comes to change management. Change is complex and often met with resistance. It is the responsibility of middle managers to ensure that changes are implemented smoothly without causing undue stress or resistance among employees.
Barriers to Successful Middle Managers
Many middle managers are not given the support and resources they need to carry out their responsibilities effectively. They are given directives from top-level management but often lack the authority to implement changes. They are expected to ensure that their teams perform at the highest level but must be given the necessary resources or communication tools to accomplish this. This lack of support can lead to frustration and burnout, ultimately impacting the company’s bottom line.
To ensure that the critical middle/middle managers are empowered and supported, companies must proactivley and invest in them. This investment means giving them the tools and resources to do their job effectively, especially when communicating with frontline/non-desk employees. It means involving them in the decision-making process and giving them the authority and ability to implement changes. It means providing them with training and development opportunities to help them stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices.
Investing in the critical middle is beneficial for the managers themselves and the organization as a whole. Studies have shown that empowering middle managers and giving them the necessary engagement tools will lead to increased employee engagement and retention, improved productivity, and higher profitability. When middle managers are given the required support and resources, they are better equipped to lead their teams, create a positive work environment, and drive business success.
Bringing the Critical Middle to the Table
One way to empower the critical middle is to involve them in the decision-making process. This involvement means providing them with a seat at the table when developing and implementing company strategies. It means listening to their feedback and considering their ideas. When middle managers are involved in the decision-making process, they are more likely to buy into the company’s goals and initiatives and work harder to ensure their successful implementation.
Another way to empower middle managers is to give them the authority to implement changes. This authority means trusting them to make decisions and giving them the necessary resources and support. It means providing them with clear goals and objectives and allowing them to develop strategies for achieving them. When middle managers are given the authority to implement changes, they are more likely to take ownership of the process and work harder to ensure its success.
Training and Development of the Critical Middle
Training and development opportunities are also crucial for empowering the critical middle. This training means providing them with the tools and resources they need to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices. It means investing in leadership development programs, communication and interpersonal skills training, and technical training to help them stay ahead of the curve. When middle managers are allowed to learn and grow, they are more likely to be effective leaders and drive business success.
In addition to these strategies, companies can also provide the critical middle with mentorship and coaching. This strategy means pairing them with experienced leaders who can provide guidance and support and help them navigate the challenges of their role. When middle managers have a mentor or coach, they are more likely to develop the skills they need to succeed and feel more supported and valued by the organization.
The Right Tools to be Effective
Middle managers need the right tools to effectively manage, engage and connect with their teams. Mobile communication aids these efforts by enabling all team members to stay in sync regardless of location. With clear objectives and prompt responses on pressing matters, non-desk employees can do their jobs more effectively.
These employees need highly structured communications that ensure they receive relevant communications to their job, not the noise and distraction found in messaging apps, feeds, and channels.
By providing your middle managers with the tools they need, you set them up for success and help to ensure that your teams are engaged, productive, and working towards common goals.
Middle managers are a critical component of any organization. They are responsible for executing strategies and ensuring the organization’s goals are met. Empowering them and giving them the necessary tools and skills will lead to increased employee engagement and retention, improved productivity, and higher profitability.
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