When it comes to the mid-level, it is the level that binds the other two levels. From carrying out orders from the top level to managing the work of the third level, the mid-level managers are the linchpins for any organisation. They are the drivers of success for an organization. However, the job of mid-level managers isn’t easy. They face a host of challenges in their day to day operations. Here’s the list and description of the major challenges faced by the mid-level managers and how can they tackle them all!
Challenges faced by Mid-Level Managers
The first major challenge for a mid-level manager is to transition from an individual contributing role to a managerial role. An individual employee gets promoted as a manager after working in a role for a period of time. In this period, the employee learns the specific nuances of that individual role. The scope of this role is limited.
Post promotion, the managerial role is wider in scope and includes a spectrum of activities that are new to the individual. This transition into a manager is a challenge for the individual employee who needs guidance at this point of time. Lack of support at this juncture can contribute in the formation of roadblocks towards the smooth transitioning process.
Management and Coordination
Post transitioning into the managerial role, the manager faces real-life management and coordination issues. The essence of a managerial role lies in managing the other two levels of management. The decision making from the top-level needs to be implemented at the grass root level and the managers manage this flow along with a host of other activities.
The managers also need to coordinate with a number of stakeholders in the organisation. The job isn’t an easy task, especially for a new manager with a lack of experience. Even for the experienced ones, managing and coordinating isn’t smooth at all times. Interpersonal skills or people management skills are a must for a manager for the skilful management and coordination of different stakeholders.
The managerial role demands an effective communication flow among the various channels and levels of management on the part of the manager. The manager needs to understand and follow the set route of business communication followed by the organisation.
A manager with sound communication strategy contributes towards enhancing the engagement among the employees. They also help in reducing the ambiguities and as a result, increasing employee morale and workplace productivity. It’s easier said than done since ineffective communication has been cited by 86% of employees as a cause for workplace failures as per important communication statistics. Hence, the challenge!
Conflicts are very much a part and parcel of the managerial set up. The manager faces the challenge to resolve conflicts between contrasting stakeholders. There are different types of conflicts such as personality based, leadership based, working style based, task-based, interdependence conflicts etc.
Any of these conflicts need customised plan of action towards a resolution. Managers face a challenge to be rational, sensible and fair, all at the same time. A hurried or a superficial response towards a conflict can prove to be a costly affair for the manager and the organisation as well. Dealing with conflicts require proper guidance in the form of training.
Preserving Organisational Culture
Every organisation has its own culture. Its own set of standards, codes of conduct and rules and regulations that need to be adhered to by all the employees. For a manager, the challenge is to preserve and uphold the organisational culture that’s inclined with the organisational goals.
In the times that we live in, the Covid19 pandemic has mandated work from homes, where employees work in isolation, far away from the workplace environment. Under such a situation, it becomes more important than ever for the managers to instil the organisational values in a novel way, working towards employee productivity and engagement for a common goal.
Digitisation has impacted almost every sphere of business. With Covid19 pandemic, it has grown at a lightning pace to become a norm in the business world. For a manager, there’s a need to consistently remain updated and upgraded with the latest developments in the field of technology, both from an individual and an organisational perspective.
In addition, the managers need to fight against the factors that hinder technological adoption among the workforce. They need to serve as guiding agents around digitisation in the organisation, using technology in a manner that’s profitable for the business. But before that, they themselves need to become technologically and digitally adept.
Burnout is a highly common phenomenon among the employees in the modern world. It’s a kind of work-related stress among the employees arising out of multiple range of factors. Around 52% employees reportedly burned out during the post Covid19 phase, as per a survey conducted by Indeed.
The rapid pace of the 21st century has enhanced competition to a level where employees are being consistently pushed to work beyond their limits. Add to this, the stress and anxiety caused by the Covid19 pandemic is acute among the employees. There’s a lack of work life balance in their lives. The result is heightened mental pressure that at times result in burnouts and depression. It is the job of managers to understand the state of affairs around their subordinates. They need to perform their duties as a motivating force. To create a stress free and sustainable work environment is a challenge in itself.
Adapting to change
Business environment is dynamic and susceptible to rapid changes. For a manager, it’s important to be agile around a change in an organisation. This requires sound decision-making skills with a long-term orientation. A recent example of the Covid19 pandemic reflected fruitful results for managers who quickly sensed the situation and guided their organisation around digital transformation amidst the lockdowns. Post a certain period of time, the employees adopted well to the new medium and as a result, the lockdown had insignificant adverse effects on them compared to their peers.
Disruption is unavoidable for business organisations. It’s important for managers to face it as a challenge and work around swiftly with sound preparation.
Managing Diversity and Inclusion
The business world is a cosmopolitan world. People from a wide range of diversities join their hands together to work for a common objective. It is imperative for managers to understand and respect the diversity at the workplace since it can make or break the organisation.
Diversity in the form of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, nationality etc presents vulnerable areas of potential discrimination, prejudice and stereotypical associations. It is the role of managers to ensure that the actual workplace setting is devoid of diversity mismanagement. Similarly, there should be inclusiveness among the employees. The challenge is to treat everyone in an equitable manner irrespective of inherent differences.
The Role of Learning and Development
While we’ve discussed the major challenges for the managers, it’s pertinent to discuss about the role played by the Learning and Development function in facilitating the managers around dealing with these challenges in an effective and efficient manner.
Think of the manager’s situation as participants before a competition. They need preparation, right? Similarly, it’s rational for any manager to prepare well, both in advance and on a continuous basis. The preparation for a manager lies in training. The training allows continuous upgradation and skill development for the manager in a specific manner, making them aware of the potential challenges that might arrive in their way, along with the knowhows to deal with them.
There are mid-level training programs especially designed for both new and experienced managers. The programs are well structured and take into account the elements of customisation for individual learners. They help in identifying high performing mid-level managers by assessing their leadership potential. Working around with courses in multiple formats, the programs aim at bridging the hierarchical gap, building strengths and capabilities needed for managerial and leadership roles.
With analytics driven assessment, the programs aim at refining the results to a level that suits the organisational objectives, equipping managers with skill sets that not only helps them face a multitude of challenges, but also drives them high in their individual careers, also yielding promising results for the organisation with respect to their succession planning!