How to get ahead as a middle manager

09:22 | 01/07/2014
The term, “middle manager” is not clearly defined, but in general refers to someone who is charged with supervising several employees, but does not manage other supervisors.

Ways to manage someone you don’t like - Photo: Hung Nguyen

Caught between senior management and subordinates, a middle manager’s position can involve a lot of stress with relatively little reward. Middle managers need to supervise their direct reports and provide mentorship to their juniors, while at the same time answering to their own bosses and clients. Keeping both those above and those below happy can be a difficult balancing act.

- Take control

Research shows that displaying certain power competencies, such as ambition, along with the ability to influence others, resolve conflict and effect change, make a middle manager both more effective and better liked. These skills and qualities are strongly associated with senior management and are key to moving up the corporate ladder.

- Walk the talk

Gandhi advised, “Become the change you wish to see in the world.” You want to be recognized as a credible and accountable team player, so it is essential that you honor your commitments and deliver on them. Never make a promise you can’t keep, whether to your boss, a subordinate, or a business partner. Ultimately, your bosses will want to leave their jobs in safe hands.

- Work smart

Time management is an area where many overwhelmed middle managers can improve. The right combination of tools and practices can free up to an hour a day to spend on those tasks that actually move the needle of the business. Use technology intelligently and prioritise to focus on what counts, and reduce time spent on less important tasks and activities.

- Manage your boss

Recent studies suggest that the most effective managers consciously manage their relationships with not only their subordinates, but their bosses as well. The importance of this can not be overstated, as your bosses are your links to the rest of the organisation. By managing your relationships with them you can influence their decisions regarding priorities and secure the resources that will allow you to excel at your job.

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