Invest in your middle management: 7 effective strategies

By Thomas Wai on

1. Improve training and provide support

Do not only focus on proper training and support for senior managers and incoming new leaders. Middle managers are just as important, so prepare them to step into more senior leadership roles when an opportunity arises.

2. Set clear expectations and communicate

It is essential to set expectations clearly and early with the managers. Your managers need to know “what winning looks like,” so that they know how to spend time and where to invest their resources and energy and have a better chance in succeeding.

3. Equip them with international exposure and cross≠functional adaptability

In today's dynamic business environment, academic qualifications and functional competencies alone will not make him or her leadership-ready. Global and regional exposure, learning the business norms in other cultures and possessing cross-functional adaptability are all important for managers who are on the trajectory to the top. Be strategic and mindful when you come to planning these activities. Consider their talents, experience and fit. 

4. Lead and manage by example

What leaders do and don't do are often watched by their associates. If senior management is not walking the talk or doing what they preach, middle managers will be confused.

5. Provide appropriate rewards and recognition

If organisations say teamwork and people are important to the success of the organisation, they need to put their investment behind their messages. Even though compensation and benefits are not the only reasons of why people work hard, they certainly are important elements to motivate an individual. 

6. Provide real-time, constructive and developmental feedback

Providing developmental feedback does not just mean informing your mid-level managers how they can do their jobs better and it's not productive to follow a “catch them doing something wrong” philosophy. In fact, we always encourage leaders to “catch people doing things right” and recognise the hard work and achievement by their team members, while at the same time be aware of their gaps and areas for growth. 

7. Building a trusting and long-term relationship

Be their mentor, coach and serve as their advisors whether they win or lose, are concerned or excited. When your middle managers know that they could turn to you when they need you, they will trust you and seek your advice. Don't just talk the talk, but walk the talk and make an effort to develop a trusting partnership with them.

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