The feeling that I always used to get as a middle-level manager in my previous company. For those, you are not aware of what this position means, middle-level managers are the one working at the intermediary level where they need to report to their head managers, while also have responsibilities to guide lower-level managers to perform well. The intermediary position includes General manager, branch manager, or division manager where I being in one of these positions was finding it daunting to deal with the scenarios.
As a middle-level manager, I used to play a lot of roles, where at one point I have to be one of the team members working at a lower level while at the other point of the day, I was the person sitting in the cabin reporting his authorities to make further business plans.
Challenges that middle-level managers face during business operations
This switch of roles and the act of balancing between the two different levels in the organization hierarchy was a challenging and exciting task to play until when I started getting frustrated due to various factors as mentioned below came across as the hurdles in my smooth journey.
Lack of information to derive to a decision
- The middle-level managers are not always welcomed to all the meetings and are unaware of the plannings going on at the upper levels. The situations arise where these managers are asked to make their teams and the leaders working under them to accept certain decisions without providing any base for their decision or related information.
- Such unexpected and baseless verdicts are hard for the operational staff working at lower levels to accept it, as they are the people who have to implement the said changes and work of the announced statements.
- Here it becomes a tough task for these ML managers to convince the team without any firm information with them and have to face the rage from both sides.
Hardships of confronting their power in front of each role
- Being at the intermediary level, the ML managers have to learn the art of balancing. Here the critical part of his business is setting the level of expectations with the authorities about the deliverables and letting them know when it would not be feasible for the team to reach the targets.
- While on the other hand, the middle managers also have to play an important role to explain the expectations of the authorities to the working staff to encourage them to work in the direction to achieve the targets set by the leaders.
- The task of carefully calibrating the rights and duties by understanding the position of being less powerful in front of higher-level managers and a bit more powerful for lower-level team managers becomes a crucial act of balancing.
Absence of proper training leads to frustration
- In order to fit into a role, it’s very important that a person gets clarity about what is expected of him by giving him proper guidance or training about performing his roles and responsibilities better.
- While planning for better business management problems and solutions, the focus is always made on training the top-level managers as they are the ones who are involved in the decision-making process. The deficiency of such training leads to unclear work roles as the ML managers are uncertain about what they are expected to do and thus feel frustrated assuming things around.
- One such real-life example is where a newly appointed ML manager was finding his job at risk. The reason was, he was just promoted from a team member to an ML manager and has the habit of doing each thing on his own precisely. Well here he doesn’t have the ability to make people do work and at the end was found to be doing jobs for the people in the team.
- Well on the other side he was not able to maintain a leader like repo with the leaders as it was new for him to talk about such topics as he was not trained to behave like one.
Slow growth due to less exposure to opportunities
- This is the worst thing to be deprived of in spite of equally working for a task. Yes, the ML managers are not exposed to the opportunities of growth as the other leaders at the top who are handling the tasks that lead to growth.
- Like having a conversation with a client, handling complex situations, making decisions of their own. As everything has to be passed and approved after the higher-level managers crosschecks it and gives a green signal, the ability of the ML managers to make their decisions never gets a chance to bloom.
- In Spite of having similar work profiles, a few factors like this slow the growth process for the ML managers to take 1.5 to 2 years to reach a level where they could be a part of authorities.
- ML managers perform various roles during their work cycle, from handling the millennials who don’t like the old working methods to keep up with the expectations of the authorities.
- Their efforts of keeping everyone streamlined often make them stuck in a situation where the conflicting demands of both make it harder for them to tackle the situations. Apart from this, there are many unnoticed tasks that are done by the ML managers, which don’t receive the value that it deserves.
- This diminishes the working spirit of a person and makes him less interested to perform his role thus leading to a feeling of incompetence for his role.
Final Line | Middle-Level Managers
Being a leader is always tough, but being a middle-level manager is tougher, as you are neither given the full right to make decisions, while you are no longer the part of the working staff who can enjoy their work in teams and are free from any reporting concerns.
Well, the above-mentioned challenges were some of the difficulties that I faced being a new middle-level manager. For all the ones that are about to handle this role in the near future.