5 Reasons why Mid-level Managers are Crucial for Company Success

Successful companies value their mid-level managers as they understand the crucial role they play in the organization. Mid-level managers are typically personnel at the center of a hierarchical organization, under senior management but above the operational staff. In many organizations, they are charged with the task of overseeing employees who execute organizational plans.

While top management gives the vision, inspiration, and decides on the direction that a company should follow, it is the middle managers who ensure that this vision is implemented. In effect, they are the crucial link between the top management and the ‘boots on the ground.’ This position comes with the delicate requirement of balancing customer needs with the executive’s aspirations.

When middle managers get full support from the senior level, they can actualize change in the organization. Companies that fail to bring mid-level managers on board, or fail to entrust them fully with the company’s vision will not get the results they expect. Any company that disregards its middle-level management does so at its peril.

Here are some reasons why organizations should value their mid-level managers:

1.They increase and maintain productivity

Stanford University conducted a study of 23,000 workers over four years. In one group, when a poor manager was swapped with a strong one productivity increased by 12%.

Given the right tools and support, a middle manager will extend the same to the employees, driving productivity. When a company shows its middle managers that they are valued, they become its champions. Middle managers also have strong social networks within a company. They know who can get the job done, and how to lobby for action.

2. They have a direct impact on employee well-being

Warwick University conducted a study of 700 workers to establish the relationship between happiness and productivity. The study published in the Journal of Labor Economics found that happy employees were 12% more productive.

If a manager is unhappy, he is likely to impact his employees negatively, resulting in an unhappy team. As seen in the Warwick study, unhappy employees are less productive. The reverse is also true.

3. They influence retention efforts

As the saying goes, ‘people don’t leave jobs, they leave bad managers’

According to research conducted by Gallup, a whopping 70% of employees attributed their motivation to their manager. This means that if a manager is unpleasant to work with, mistreats employees or overworks them, they are likely to quit. Appreciated, motivated and satisfied employees, on the other hand, are more likely to stay in the company.

4. They are pacesetters for change

Forbes embarked on a study of 450 firms to identify how top management and mid-level managers could better manage change. The study concluded that a combined effort would work best. This would entail mid-level managers pragmatically driving the change while senior executives continue to champion the change.

When senior executives come up with a new strategy, operating plan, or product, they entrust mid-level managers to sell it to the employees. With the top management having a bird’s eye view of the company, middle-level managers are in a better position to engage the employees directly. This is because they understand how specific change will impact each employee in the context of their role in the company. They are also in a better position to understand the employee’s moods and emotional needs. Not all change is positive, and a mid-level manager will be in an excellent place to mitigate any tension brought about by such change.

5. They are communication conduits for top management

An effective middle manager ensures that information from senior management to employees and vice versa is received clearly and as intended. He/she has the role of passing information and policies, ensuring that they are received and implemented as intended. To this end, a good mid-level manager maintains a good relationship with the senior management as well as with employees to keep communication lines open.

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