It’s Time For Traditional Middle Manager To Break Their Limits (Part 2)
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In the previous part, we’ve already learned three ways why middle managers can’t reach their full potential. The good news is that digital tools now help them a lot in management by optimizing their time spent tracking others’ workloads. However, to unleash the full potential and move up to a higher position, middle managers need to improve their management skills.
Management shouldn’t be the only way to advance
Of course, middle managers don’t exist in a vacuum. To set managers up for success, organizations need to rethink who becomes a middle manager in the first place, and what career development overall will look like in a digital-first environment.
In many organizations, the only way for individual contributors to advance is by becoming managers. This results in a large cohort of middle managers, many of whom have no real desire to lead. It also means that limited training resources must be shared among this large group of all employees who wish to advance their careers, regardless of whether they are qualified or even interested in becoming the types of managers that their organizations need.
To address this, organizations need to take a two-pronged approach: First, as “routing” tasks become largely automated, middle managers should be empowered to focus on the vital work of forging connections, a building belonging among diverse employees, and developing talent. This means investing in training for communication skills, inclusion techniques, and coaching. This also means reducing the total number of middle managers, so that resources can be focused on supporting a smaller group of dedicated leaders.
Second, companies need to build career ladders that allow expert individual contributors to grow in title and compensation based on demonstrated expertise and outcomes, without requiring them to become managers. Many people are ambitious, but not particularly interested in managing people. Providing these employees with a compelling development track will be essential both for their growth and job satisfaction, and to ensure that those who do become middle managers want to do the work involved.
Too often, middle managers are used to paper over broken business processes, with key tasks dependent on individuals’ institutional memory rather than sustainable procedures. Fixing these process gaps depends on embracing digital tools so that the humans in the loop can focus on what they do best — whether that’s technical expertise or people management.
The rapid shift to distributed work over the last year has only expanded the challenges facing the modern middle manager — but it has also created an unparalleled opportunity to rethink the role of management for a new, digital-first world.
As digital tools enable the freer, the more democratic flow of information, there will no longer be any need for managers whose sole job is to route information between the top and bottom of the company. Instead of being stuck in the middle, managers will be free to focus on something that is infinitely more important: building and connecting the people that are the true lifeblood of any organization. To do that quickly and effectively, we need to find companies and jobs with a clear, specific growth ladder that encourages growth based on demonstrated expertise and outcomes. In many ways, PRIMUS rise is the best platform for the middle manager to design their dream.
According to Harvard Business Review
>> View more: Five Tips For Successfully Managing Remote Teams
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