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As anyone in middle management will tell you, it’s one of the most challenging jobs you can take on. You have to balance the expectations of different stakeholders and act as a leader and a follower at the same time. You need to lead your team and motivate them to meet their goals.

Despite all these challenges, what makes this position so challenging is also what makes it rewarding. Keep reading for more about the specific obstacles middle managers face and how to overcome them.

Being constantly judged

People will judge you as a manager. It’s not just about your performance, but also how you behave and project yourself as a manager. When people judge you, it is likely because they want or expect you to act in a certain way. This is why it’s essential to be aware of what is expected of you and manage these expectations appropriately.

Open communication and seeking regular feedback can prevent unnecessary misunderstandings and ensure that each party knows what is expected from the other. Also, make sure that you are demonstrating your achievements. You don’t need to go around bragging about every little success but do discuss your accomplishments and those of your team. The more visible your achievements and successes are, the less likely you will be viewed negatively.

A lack of leadership and management training

Often, people are promoted into management roles without receiving any formal training in dealing with employees. This results in a lack of confidence. It is also more likely that they will make mistakes. In time, both skills and confidence will come with experience. But to improve your skills and performance as a manager now, focused development is vital.

Review your performance and consider where you can make improvements. Then determine what skills you need to do so. Seek feedback from your manager and your team to help you gain further insight. Once you know what areas you need to work on, create a plan to develop them and consider what support you need. This may include training, coaching, mentoring or even a combination.

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Managing your time

Focusing on longer-term plans while keeping up with the day-to-day requirements can feel stressful. And, trying to please everyone all of the time is impossible. If you feel overwhelmed, step back and consider what needs prioritising. Remember, what is urgent and important to someone else, may not be to you. Ensure you are managing your time rather than allowing others to.

Consider what tasks you can delegate to team members. As well as saving you time, it may also aid their development.

As a middle manager, you can ask your manager for help and support. Identify barriers to your team’s performance and how that will affect results. Discuss the details with your manager and suggest improvement solutions. When considering potential solutions, get your team involved. They may have some great ideas, and many heads are better than one.

What makes a good middle manager?

A good manager can make or break a team. They set the tone for how employees will interact with each other and how they’ll meet their goals. A good middle manager shares certain traits and characteristics with a good leader. They encourage and empower their teams to succeed and grow.

Good middle managers are empathetic and encourage their people to grow. They are eager to learn, and they’re constantly striving for improvement. Their strong communication skills ensure that information flows across the business. As well as being transparent about company goals, they recognise and reward high performance.

Rather than micromanaging people, they give individuals the freedom to do their job. They focus on results and coach team members to help them achieve those results.

Are you looking to take your leadership and management skills to the next level? At Delphinium, we provide a range of solutions to support your leadership journey. Arrange a discovery call now to discuss how we can help you.

Author: Gemma Rolstone | Published 14th February 2022.