Ensuring Growth of Middle Managers is Crucial for a Flourishing Workplace
Small business owners have a lot on their plates - managing budgets, meeting targets, and overseeing employees. But amidst all these responsibilities, one thing that often gets overlooked is the development of middle management. In this article, we'll explore five benefits that come with upskilling middle managers in order to create a thriving workplace that supports growth and success.
#1 Boost Employee Productivity and Performance
Middle managers are the ones who bridge the gap between the employees and upper management. They are responsible for translating the company's goals and vision into actionable plans for their teams. Upskilling middle managers can help them become better-equipped to manage their teams and nurture their employees' skills. This, in turn, can lead to better productivity and performance, as employees feel more engaged and invested in their work.
Leadership experts advise on-going coaching and mentoring for middle managers, who are often less experienced managing employees. McKinsey & Co. calls this “capability building,” and reports that most managers could benefit from support in these areas:
- Engaging in complex problem solving by defining, structuring, and prioritizing issues
- Synthesizing ideas and communicating effectively by structuring communications, tailoring messages, and inspiring action
- Coaching direct reports to enhance impact through development, emotional intelligence, engagement, and talent retention.
- Designing and executing strategic plans to align, engage, and mobilize teams.
#2 Foster a Culture of Learning & Development
When middle managers are encouraged to learn and grow, they are more likely to pass on this mindset to their teams. Upskilling opportunities can help middle managers learn new tools, techniques, and strategies that they can then share with their teams. This culture of learning and development can have a ripple effect throughout the organization, leading to a more energized and motivated workforce.
What do you middle managers need to learn? Investing time in assessing their strengths and skill gaps can provide direction. Maybe the manager could benefit from a specific book, course, or program. Often managers are happy to grow in these areas, knowing their career advancement and work/life balance depends on their professional development.
#3 Improve Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Abilities
Middle managers are often tasked with making difficult decisions and solving complex problems. By investing in their development, you can equip them with the tools and skills needed to make more informed decisions and find creative solutions to challenges, which ultimately leads to better outcomes, increased efficiency, and reduced costs.
Inc. contributor, Bernard Coleman, recommends senior managers use a technique he calls the ‘Feedback Five.’ Coleman uses this trust-building exercise to provide timely feedback, so employees are receiving input sooner rather than later on their performance.
#4 Attract and Retain Top Talent
When employees see that their managers are invested in their growth and development, they are more likely to stay with the company long-term. This can help reduce costly turnover and ensure that your company is staffed with top talent. Additionally, creating a culture of learning can also help attract new employees who are looking for opportunities for growth and development.
Implementing professional development opportunities for managers is beyond icing on the cake. A survey from The Execu|Search Group found that 86% of professionals are willing to switch jobs if a new company provides better professional development prospects.
#5 Keep Pace with Industry Trends
Industries are constantly evolving, and it's essential for businesses to keep up. Upskilling your middle managers can help ensure that your company stays ahead of the curve and is equipped to navigate changes and challenges. Additionally, investing in the development of your team can help you differentiate yourself from competitors and position your company as a leader in the industry.
The Bottom Line
As a small business owner, it's important to prioritize the development of your middle managers. Investing in their education and upskilling can have a significant impact on their ability to lead teams, make informed decisions, foster a culture of learning, retain top talent, and keep pace with industry trends. By creating a thriving workplace where employees feel valued and empowered, you are setting your business up for long-term growth and success.
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