LEADERSHIP

LEADERSHIP IN MIDLEVEL MANAGEMENT

 Introduction

Mid level leaders are the key members of a company. Due to the frequent changes and dispersion amongst work forces, mid level leaders help to hold the company’s strategy together. They should have the ability to communicate and collaborate among different teams.

The uniqueness of a mid level leadership comes from the frequency and volume at which the application of full range of leadership takes place. Leading and working from the middle zone is not entirely about the position. It is about meeting the demands of the people who are at higher levels of authority and also providing sufficient resources to those who are working below.

A Leadership program to transform middle management

A mid level leadership program must involve a group of individuals who are comfortable with sharing and collaboration of ideas in and outside of the organization.

Completion of detail oriented works, strategic way of thinking and providing leadership in emergencies with projects, customers or suppliers are few of the ways that this can be achieved (Okeke et al. 2017). There are a large number of factors that must be considered in order to develop a particular training program for these leaders.

  • Training mid level leaders- This focuses on creating a broad enterprise wide view of a company. The leaders must know how to take chances and a wide range of opportunities so that the company gets to progress at a wider level. Due to sudden changes in the circumstances a middle level leader should have the skill to quickly adjust to the new conditions according to the changes of the organization’s needs.

Provision of innovative thoughts throughout the working team and company’s department is required. As commented by Holmemo (2016), mid level leaders must know how to attract, develop and retain talent in order to gain a competitive advantage. Usage of real projects during training can also impact the business on a large scale.

  • Providing applicable learning experiences- The program must provide plenty of opportunity to the leaders to be involved in discussions and meetings that are extremely relevant towards the work process of the organization. This will help them to understand how to allocate effective time and effort towards any particular task.

These new skills and knowledge obtained will help them to thrive towards success at their jobs after proper training and feedback from the working employees, the next job is to help the managers retain and apply the information they have learned. As suggested by Holmemo (2016), senior level leadership support is highly required.

  • Alignment of training- While the process of development of leadership training takes place the leaders will get to meet a lot of senior executives and business officials. This will help them to understand the correct priorities of the company and the importance of relevant skills. As suggested by Ingvaldsen (2016), it will help to form a connection between the capabilities targeted within a program and its strategic priorities. Certain senior executives might help to demonstrate how the particular program works. Utilization of business impact projects in training might affect the overall outcomes if business goals are addressed.
  • Communication skills- It is one of the core leadership qualities and requires the knowledge of how to improvise the thought process of an individual, expression of innovative ideas and information to a large scale of audiences (Geraghty, 2017). The skill to motivate the employees working under them can be used to increase the unity. This will also lead them to exploring new ways a business goal can be achieved. Asking the right questions that point out towards the vulnerabilities of a particular project scheme helps to create self awareness. How to control rapid flow of information within an organization is something that the workers must focus on these days.
  • Resiliency- As commented by Geraghty (2017), leadership resilience is about knowing how to handle stress, uncertainty and setbacks within an organization. This will help them to maintain proper control and create positive thoughts when the situation has become worse. Pressure among the employees can be reduced and also it boosts up self confidence. The program must help the participants to find necessary tools and resources in order to build resiliency for themselves and others in the organization.
  • Self Awareness- This focuses on understanding one’s own style, personality, liking, strengths, motivations, weaknesses and preferences that helps a leader to make important decisions for a company. Collaboration with other managers to develop new ideas and skills can increase self awareness. As commented by Geraghty (2017), it helps to gain new experiences that might impact the organization significantly. The leadership skills attained from these will help the leaders throughout their careers. If a leader can properly harness and implement these skills mentioned in the leadership program can efficiently work from the middle. They are most likely to advance in their career without experiencing any kind of problems. Not only work obligation but also personal demands will be managed.

If a manager has to do middle management in a business he should give up trying to constantly please all the working employees. It is essential to stay focused and think out of the box. The leaders must refer to the big picture and understand how the different segments of an organization work independently (Holmemo and Ingvaldsen, 2017).

A leader becomes more effective when he understands how to utilize the help of other managers. Learning to influence the system is also important. This helps to bridge the potential gap between the senior management and the front line so that the company can function properly.

The program offers the participants to experience life at different levels of an organization. Quantifiable self assessments help to measure the confidence level of each leader. Mid level leaders must be prepared to succeed in their critical roles when faced with new challenges (Geraghty, 2017).

These will help the mid level leaders to manage the up, down and across to influence the changes to lead the organization to success. Knowing how to keep the leaders who are working above satisfied and at the same time supervising the junior employees is not an easy task.

A diversity program to widen participation in decision-making within your business

As suggested by Okeke (2017), personal development of the individual employees contributes to the stable and sustainable growth of a company. The value of diversity to organizational decision making is patchy and rather mixed. It acts as a huge advantage to many organizations.

Diverse decision making group members bring together different experiences, values, perspectives and orientations to the process of complex decision making. It helps to identify and critically analyse the diverse decision alternatives which might lead to performance gains. To analyse the importance of diversity in decision making the following factors must be kept in mind.

  • Development of decision frame- The idea of decision frame is to create conditions for people who are concerned with decision making. As suggested by Babalola (2017), it helps to build common representations among st the issues. It also focuses on creating certain boundaries and rules for the decision makers to explore various alternatives. Identifying and solving the problems in an unambiguous method is also helpful. Assessing the situations of a business is also important. The participants must keep on exploring new ideas to identify uncertainties and generating alternatives.
  • Deciding what kind of people to be involved in the process- This factor helps to keep a track on what kind of individuals carry the capability and required set of skills to participate in the process (Belasen and Belasen, 2016). Organizational decisions on the effective selection of working employees impact the business beyond its boundary. Knowledge, experience, interests and interests are also important considerations in people’s decisions.
  • Working out the decision process- This involves mobilizing, developing and utilizing available organizational structures. This in turn is useful for the making of vital decisions, dividing and creating different teams to perform certain tasks (Okeke et al. 2017). Also time management, changing work patterns and resources can also be included in this segment.
  • Generating and evaluating alternatives- Decisions are based on what the various working employees of an organization choose to work on. How a problem can be potentially solved should be carefully analyzed and evaluated (Hughes and Wade, 2017). Management of cost reduction, risks, resources and assessments are also some important skills that makes the work process easier.
  • Values integration- Every decision has an underlined value or reason that affects the overall business (Ratcliffe, 2016). Before taking any such decision it is really important the underlying value or reason behind it so that it does not create any confusion later on. Proper discussions with teammates and agreement are required before it is confirmed.
  • The decision aftermath- Developing the process of effective communication, implementation, correction and proper adjustment of the decision should also be focused on.

As commented by Babalola (2017), diversity should not affect the woman’s advancement in an organization. Creation of an environment where female employees are highly engaged and can utilize their capabilities to the fullest is essential. Some of the ways to increase a woman’s participation in decision making are as follows.

  • Active recruitment and acquirement of female talent- It is used to actively recruit and select personnel. It will also ensure that a certain percentage of the graduates hired must be women.
  • Raise- This implies supporting the women to work in a diverse number of fields and also promoting them to managerial positions (Northouse, 2018). This will ensure a system which does not support any kind of unfair and unbiased process. It helps to set target levels for women and also make a way for them to achieve it.
  • Retain- It focuses on maintaining and increasing employee engagement by creation of work environments which allows employees to freely exercise their capabilities (Western, 2019). Minimizing the difficulties associated with childbirth and pregnancies, personal management policies to help the employees to manage work and family responsibilities are also included.
  • Relate- It helps to promote internal and external dialogue in order to encourage a change in mindset for the organization as a whole.

The program must provide women opportunities for female employees to consider the challenges that are faced by women leaders and also address them in order to develop their own careers (Grint et al. 2016).

In order to better incorporate diverse ideas and the values of females in various leadership positions is also important.  This helps in key strategic planning, improving decision making skills and also handling daily business operations.

As advised by Hughes (2017), female employees should be sent to seminars and various discussion sessions organized by other companies to support them in building networks. This will encourage the growth and involvement of all the women in order to share ideas and perspectives with each other.

Female career advisers can provide advice on particular issues that a woman has to face in their career development. It involves interviewing systems and group wide training systems (Priest and Gass, 2017).

Employees with various disabilities should also be given an opportunity to work side by side. Tasks should be divided based on each person’s capability and expertise so that it becomes easier to share ideas in order to reduce time consumption.

A team based structure managed by SMART objectives

 Team structure

Dr Meredith Belbin and his team found out that a team needs to have nine clusters of behaviours in order to become a high performing team (Mendenhall et al. 2017). These are commonly known as Belbin Team Roles. But the requirement of nine individual team members is not necessary. Each of them will be assigned with a particular role according to their comfort zones. Each team role has its pros and cons.

As commented by Wade (2017), It is essential to understand the proper allocation of tasks according to their respective objectives. Not each team role is required always at the same instance. Once the roles have been assigned discussions need to take place regarding which of the following roles should be properly utilized.

With the help of this team structure, individuals can achieve a great self analysis of their strengths and weaknesses (Northouse, 2019). It leads to effective communication between the employees and the leaders of the organization. Improvisation of the existing teams will help the employees to feel that their work is making a difference. Completion of Belbin Self Perception Inventory and asking for feedback from the colleagues is also necessary.

The nine Belbin team roles are descriptions of job duties. Understanding of each role can help the team member to work more efficiently

  • The monitor – It focuses on making decisions based on real facts instead of taking into consideration any emotions and instinct. In case of a challenge, it monitors all the probable obstacles and possibilities that may arise. This leads to finding an insightful solution. As suggested by Ratcliffe (2016), the individuals who are assigned this role do not take any interest in the personal life of their fellow teammates. It works best when challenges requiring advanced analytical ability and problem solving skills take place. It helps the individuals to consistently make effective decisions and can hold managerial positions.
  • The Specialist- This team member must be specific in any particular job or task. Since they have a deep knowledge in a particular subject or issue, they will only contribute when the task requires a particular area of expertise (Martin et al. 2017). Being a part of a team is not very natural for them. They have invaluable knowledge and technological experience which no other member of the team can contribute.
  • The Plant- They are free thinkers and creative people who generate original ideas and concepts that will help the team to achieve a particular task. Their creative and unique way of thinking often leads to extremely innovative solutions and groundbreaking concepts (Covin and Slevin, 2017). They may not reflect the usual or traditional way a team member acts but they help to bring growth and progress.
  • The Sharper-They are often extroverts who often push themselves and others to achieve a particular result (Johnson, 2019). They mainly focus on driving their teammates to work hard and act as a motivator for achieving the goals of the team. Since they are born leaders who tend to get effective results, their career is often successful and uprising.
  • The Implementer- They are organizers who like to maintain their working environment in a structural way. They are practical people who try to eliminate or improvise any abstract idea so that it can be used to create real and concrete plans. They are well disciplined and extremely self conscious. As commented by Ratcliffe (2016), they can very well ignore their own interests and focus on the essential requirements of the team or an organization. They prefer established and fixed ways of performing the assigned tasks. They can only be persuaded to change their thought process if they are convinced that it will help to yield better and positive results (Glatthorn et al. 2016). They are basically the backbone of an organization as they help in contributing working strategies and development plans. They help to ensure that the teams complete their tasks quickly and also effectively. These practical and diligent team members are the main reason for the goals to be achievable.
  • The Completer- They are also known as finishers as they help in performing quality assurance during key stages of the project (Rice, 2018). They have the focus to notice and examine each and every important detail that the other members might overlook. This helps them to debug errors and improve the quality of the products. Since they always strive for perfection they expect the same from their teammates.
  • The Coordinator- They are mature individuals with excellent communication skills. They are commonly given the position of management but their management technique is different from the others (Van Wart, 2017). They are necessary to make sure that the team utilizes each member’s strengths effectively.
  • The Team Worker- As suggested by Ratcliffe (2016), they are normally individuals with friendly dispositions. They have a good sense of listening and can adapt at getting a team to function together as a team. They are highly versatile and adaptable individuals who can interact effectively and cope with difficult situations.
  • The Resource Investigator- They are very skilled in networking. They are extremely positive and lively people who love to explore new opportunities and develop ideas (Robertson, 2016). It is not necessary that they themselves come up with ideas. They are skilled at picking up ideas from other people.

SMART objectives

  1. The first objective is to gain developed team communication by establishing a mechanism of weekly meeting with the team managers within 22nd July, 2020
  2. The second objective is to conduct a training session for the new employees to improve their management skills within 13th August, 2020
  3. The third objective is to conduct an orientation session for the equality and diversity policies of the organisation within 05th October, 2020

SM ART Table

ObjectivesSpecific Measurable AchievableRealisticTime-bound
Gaining developed team communication by establishing a mechanism of weekly meeting with the team managers within 22nd July, 2020Conducting weekly meetingsIt will be measured by the number of meetings conductedIt will be achieved through persuasion and communicationConducting weekly meetings does not exhaust resources and is necessary for team building.22nd July, 2020
Conducting a training session for the new employees to improve their management skills within 13 August, 2020Conducting a training sessionMeasured through employee feedbackAchieved with the help of senior leadershipTraining ensures that employees’ skills are aligned with organisational needs.13th August, 2020
Conducting an orientation session for the equality and diversity policies of the organisation within 05 October, 2020Orientation session for the equality and diversity policiesMeasured through employee feedbackAchieved with the help of human resource managementThis ensures that there is no discrimination in the workplace.05th October, 2020

 

Conclusion

It is not easy for a manager to do middle management as it includes satisfying the members who are working at higher positions and also keeping a check that the effective information is being passed to the ones that are working below. How an individual employs business strategies and detailed oriented projects is a way to distinguish them from others.

Provision of innovative ideas throughout the team and every working department is essential. There should not be any unwanted changes in the ideas that are being passed from one working structure towards the other.

A diversity program is essential for an organization as it helps to bring together diverse groups of people with different values and perspectives to the process of making a particular decision.

Deciding what kind of an individual can be included in a particular leadership program on the basis of their skills, knowledge and past working experiences is needed. It should not have any impact on the opportunities of female employees and people with disabilities. They should be encouraged to work in managerial positions for the betterment of the company.

References

Belasen, A. and Belasen, A.R., (2016). Value in the middle: Cultivating middle managers in healthcare organizations. Journal of Management Development.

Bolman, L.G. and Deal, T.E., (2017). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. John Wiley & Sons.

Covin, J.G. and Slevin, D.P., (2017). The entrepreneurial imperatives of strategic leadership. Strategic entrepreneurship: Creating a new mindset, pp.307-327.

Geraghty, M., (2017). The role middle management play as change agents within An Garda Síochána (Doctoral dissertation, Dublin, National College of Ireland)

Glatthorn, A.A., Boschee, F., Whitehead, B.M. and Boschee, B.F., (2018). Curriculum leadership: Strategies for development and implementation. SAGE publications.

Grint, K., Jones, O.S., Holt, C. and Storey, J., (2016). What is leadership. The Routledge Companion to Leadership, p.3.

Holmemo, M.D.Q. and Ingvaldsen, J.A., (2016). Bypassing the dinosaurs?–How middle managers become the missing link in lean implementation. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 27(11-12), pp.1332-1345.

Hughes, D. and Wade, G., (2017). Higher education and businesses: together building the talent pipeline for high level skills in the transport industry.

Johnson, C.E., (2019). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow. SAGE Publications, Incorporated.

Martin, B., Breunig, M., Wagstaff, M. and Goldenberg, M., (2017). Outdoor leadership. Human Kinetics.

Mendenhall, M.E., Osland, J., Bird, A., Oddou, G.R., Stevens, M.J., Maznevski, M. and Stahl, G.K. eds., (2017). Global leadership: Research, practice, and development. Routledge.

Northouse, P.G., (2018). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.

Northouse, P.G., (2019). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice. SAGE Publications, Incorporated.

Okeke, I.N., Babalola, C.P., Byarugaba, D.K., Djimde, A. and Osoniyi, O.R., (2017). Broadening participation in the sciences within and from Africa: Purpose, challenges, and prospects. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 16(2), p.es2.

Priest, S. and Gass, M., (2017). Effective leadership in adventure programming, 3E. Human Kinetics.

Ratcliffe, J., (2016). Going beyond your clinic team’s SMART objectives to achieve stretch goals. Journal of Aesthetic Nursing, 5(5), pp.254-255.

Rice, A.K., (2018). Learning for leadership: Interpersonal and intergroup relations. Routledge.

Robertson, J., (2016). Coaching leadership: Building educational leadership capacity through partnership. New Zealand Council for Educational Research. PO Box 3237, Wellington 6140 New Zealand.

Van Wart, M., (2017). Leadership in public organizations: An introduction. Taylor & Francis.

Western, S., (2019). Leadership: A critical text. SAGE Publications Limited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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