Article (October-2021)


Hold middle managers accountable but cloth them with authority too

Dharmendra Singh Negi

Designation : -   Human Resources Adviser

Organization : -  


8626 Total View        

How do you decode the Middle Riddle? What are the most relevant issues involved with middle managers in the organisations?

DS Yes, the middle is always a dilemma. It is assumed, as the first and youngest kid, receives the most attention, while the middle child must compete for parental attention with both the elder and younger sibling to guarantee his survival, he makes his presence known by doing a balancing act between the elder and the younger, lest he becomes stuck in the midst. The middle group is seen as neglected, despite the fact that it is vital to the organisation's growth. The connection between middle management and the power centre is complicated, delicate, and volatile.

They must be adaptable in their approach in order to manage the expectations of seniors and to adopt a new work style in order to get the task done from the co-workers. The balance between finishing the assignment and demanding effort from the team, moving from low power to high power behavioural style is expected. Failure to adjust to such a role will almost definitely result in conflict and misunderstanding. It's difficult to keep oneself motivated while still inspiring your co-workers. Their ideas are killed. Implementing a boss's ideas is always difficult since they are told what to do and what not to do. Their bosses prefer to pursue the safest, tried-and-tested path rather than welcome fresh ideas that middle management suggests. This is extremely frustrating when you are not in agreement with the concept and are required to implement it with the help of your team. The most significant issue arises from a complicated reporting structure in which you have too many stakeholders and you report to the majority of them. Conflicting roles are a key issue for middle managers.

Does the Corp Inc. recognise the existence and value middle managers? If yes, why it is not visible and appreciated enough? If not, what reasons you can count upon?

DS Yes, Identification, recognition is very important.

The Middle managers are being developed and involved in cross-functional initiatives, with key management duties being pushed to them. These folks make important decisions. Bosses are delegating all decision-making and call-making authority to their subordinates. They are the business's engine and the link between leaders. Assist in the development of relationships between top management and lower management.

But, I also have a somewhat different viewpoint, with which some of you may disagree. Most big and professional organisations acknowledge their efforts and provide opportunities to expand and retain talent, but the middle and small businesses lack a work culture that rewards them for their efforts on a timely basis since they provide a challenge to their managers.

A large number of Bosses plan to retire from these firms, and they do not want these professionals to be recognized by the company's top management. Only the clever outliers, on the other hand, know how to position themselves in front of the camera in order to get seen. I'm not implying that every organisation's management is the same. It's entirely up to the Bosses to decide how to protect, expose, reward, and punish their middle management who can replace them. Yes, I agree that it is often not apparent or recognized since it will depend on how the boss projects it. This is one of the reasons why middle management has the most attrition and dissatisfaction.

Do you think that the middle managers are self-responsible for their misery or failure in the organisation? What can be the strategies to make them more competent?

DS To large extent, Yes. Sometimes they themselves create the gap between themselves and bosses by not opening up with them. In most cases, it is found that it also happens due to extreme ends of Power distribution and due to complicated relationships to power that they have to deal with in day-to-day work.

When interacting with subordinates, on the other hand, they adopt a more assertive high-power behavioural style. People should know how to play what is expected of them.

Organisations should provide a pleasant and learning environment in which their work is recognized, respected, trusted, ideas are heard, and people have a work-life balance. Allow them to make errors; do not penalize them. The attitude should be "Kam karega to galti bhi Karega." Give them unconditional support and allow them to make mistakes but hold them accountable. It's a straight forward strategy: Respect, Reward, Recognition, Encouragement, Empowerment, and Engagement should be part of the organisation's work culture and highly valued.

Learning has no end, but that does not always imply high-quality courses. Give them a pleasant work atmosphere, strong mentors, opportunities to learn new skills, and include them in new initiatives. Never make them feel unwelcome. Micromanagement detracts from the game. A sense of belonging may do much more. Neither overlooked nor overbooked. In both instances, they will be uneasy. The clarity in roles, as well as what is expected of them, is essential. Resources should be made accessible, gaps should be addressed, and only then should expectations be placed. Simplify the organisational structure by experimenting with job rotation. In general, top management movement is not frequent, and middle management becomes stuck; thus, measures to identify and promote deserving employees must be devised.

To read the full article, subscribe now!