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The Middle Manager

Dr. Brittany Castonguay 23 October 23 #Management

The middle manager. The supervisor who takes the brunt of the work is exposed to pressure from up and down the chain and feels burnout at exponential levels. When we think of the middle manager, we should focus on supporting them and providing them the resources they need to excel. Yet some major companies, Meta and X, are taking a different approach to handling middle management. These larger companies are focused on short-term solutions with long-term negative effects. Meta and X are both trimming their middle tiers of supervision by labeling them as hampers on productivity and profit.

Middle Manager; Manager; Management
Middle Managers are the Backbone of Organizational Success

In actuality, mid-tier supervisors need C-suite support. This support includes training and support to tackle organizational roadblocks. Being provided the support to reduce burnout and reduce bureaucracy. Middle management is a difficult position to supervise. You tend to lead larger teams of personnel that are in junior roles while being given heavy tasks by senior management. A middle manager may have just entered a leadership position for the first time. New managers need to be treated with care, as their development is just as important as the role they were given.

Why are Middle Managers Important?

The middle manager plays a vital role in the success of the operation. As stated above, they focus on keeping the organization running. They manage junior employees below them and keep senior leaders above them happy. They are the balancing act that keeps the organization actively functioning. To remove middle managers from the organization is to remove a critical Jenga piece that causes the tower to fumble over and lose the game.

Supervisors should focus on developing talent and growing their teams at this management tier. Yet only 20% of middle managers feel strongly supported by their leadership to have the support and resources they need to grow their teams. Nearly half of mid-tier supervisors feel they have been set up for managerial success by their organization.

Where is the Disconnect?

This tells us that the organization's most critical and vital role is often overlooked, overworked, and under-supported. When this level of supervisors is not properly developed and supported, job satisfaction, retention, and even recruiting programs struggle. The reason is that the stress trickles down to the junior employees who see through the cracks in the façade. They recognize they are not receiving the support or development they need, directly impacting job satisfaction, retention, and recruiting.

The struggles with middle management transcend junior employees and affect the organization's vitality. When upper management does not support the middle tier, productivity and profits falter. C-suite leaders need to evaluate their position in this middle tier and recognize the extreme importance this level plays in the organization's overall success. Until C-suite leaders prioritize middle management, they will continue to see residual factors negatively impact their organization.

How to Prioritize?

There is an old cliché: put your money where your mouth is. For this cliché, there is truth when it comes to prioritizing middle management. Many issues organizations face can be corrected by placing an emphasis on mid-tier support. C-suite leaders need to provide managers with the tools, resources, and support needed to reduce bureaucracy so the middle manager can focus on their true duties: developing and training junior employees.

1 commento

Josef Lee
Josef Lee
24 ott 2023

Great article. I found middle management a very lonely place to be. You are kind of on your own. The first line supervisor is still viewed by the shop floor as part of the team, the middle manager is not. In fact the middle manager is often viewed as the disciplinarian, and no longer trusted by the team. The middle manager is also not part of the Executive staff and not included in a lot of the decision making. This can make a middle manager feel like they have no trust below them and no support above them. Tough spot.

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