There are middle managers in every field. From accounting and production to marketing and sales, managers ensure that business runs smoothly. Managers implement the strategies of their superiors. They are responsible for motivating people and getting results. But what happens when managers literally get stuck in the middle? When there is no upward mobility, just hovering in place, waiting. What is one to do?
There may be many reasons why a manager may be stuck in the middle or plateau in their careers, especially if you’ve been working for the same company for many years. Reasons such as lack of open positions due to the size of the organization, or financial limitations, whatever the case, being stuck in middle management can be pretty frustrating. In this article, I’ll provide some tips, which may help give you that leg up.
There are many managers in the workforce. Some managers are respected and others are despised. So, what does it take to be a manager? Each manager is unique, but a successful manager, one more likely to get a promotion, will embody certain characteristics. They are:
• Integrity: A successful manager is trustworthy and will lead by example.
• Communication: A successful manager must be able to communicate effectively to senior managers and their employees.
• Analytical Thinking: Managers need to think analytically in order to make decisions.
• Focus and Composure: It is important that managers remain focused and composed at all times.
A huge part of a manager’s responsibility, is managing information. Information determines the decisions that middle managers and senior managers make. With the overflow of information available, it is important that the correct information is included in the decision making process. Middle managers need to seek out, sort, and deliver relevant information. Important information includes:
• Technology and Infrastructure: Information regarding changes to or problems with technology or the infrastructure of the organization needs to be addressed.
• Customer Feedback: Customer feedback, both positive and negative, needs to be addressed.
• Finances: Financial information should be constantly monitored.
• Employee Feedback: Communication from employees will provide valuable information about different business practices.
Information is useless, however, if the ability to use and make rational decisions based on this information is lacking. Let’s face it; if you want to be at the top, you need to be prepared to make the big decisions. So once useful information is gathered, decisions need to be made. These decisions will guide the business, so it is important that the decision-making process be as accurate as possible. Rational decision-making is a traditional method of decision-making. Truly effective managers are familiar with this method, and they are always seeking to improve their decision-making skills.
It is important to note, that decision making is not the same as problem-solving because decisions do not always come from problems. Rational decision-making is a cognitive process that relies on an analysis of information to make decisions. It takes several steps, and compares different solutions to discover the best possible scenario. Rational decision-making has its limitations.
There are six basic steps to rational decision-making in the business setting. These steps depend on the information collected, which is why it is so important to make sure that the information is truly useful.
1. Define the decision: Before making a decision, determine what it is and why it is necessary.
2. Determine the criteria: The criteria for the decision are based on the values, interests, and goals of the organization.
3. Evaluate the criteria: Evaluate the criteria to determine that it is appropriate and will help keep priorities in place.
4. Explore options: At this point, brainstorm different answers.
5. Rate options: Evaluate and rate the answers for priority and effectiveness.
6. Calculate the best decision: Select the decision with the best rating.
Another way to ensure you’re truly on that track to upper management is by understanding the importance of innovation. Without innovation, businesses can get stale and uncompetitive. Innovation allows companies to remain competitive. Advancement requires an atmosphere of acceptance toward innovation. This allows people to think outside of the normal parameters, experiment, and discover new ideas that will benefit company performance and employee culture. Innovative ideas and knowledge can be passed on to employees and ensure that the new concepts are accepted and possibly used to create further innovations and advancements.
Successful managers need to be aware of innovation in order to successfully manage innovation and teams. There are steps managers can take to help support innovation within their companies.
• Managerial support: Innovation requires the support of managers. Managers should encourage employees to take risks and work across fields.
• Creative teams: Managers should identify and build creative teams.
• Monitor teams: Once teams are created, monitor them for the success.
• Apply: Create strategies to apply any helpful innovations.
• Evaluate: Evaluate how effective the innovations are and make changes as necessary.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Honing those crucial leadership skills are certain to give you an edge. Get unstuck by being more intentional as a leader. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, and ensure you are truly ready to take on the huge responsibility of being a senior leader in upper management.
source: Caribbean News Now