From a CEO perspective, that middle management level can make or break what you’re trying to achieve. Because they are so important in implementing whatever decisions you’re taking if they’re not onside, or keeping their team inspired and focussed, you haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of delivering.
The thing is, the person most people pay the most attention to is their line manager. That is the person who can help them to have a good day or give them a miserable one. And I do think lots of us at senior level can sometimes forget how critical they are. We talk about staff, volunteers, even trustees – but can overlook that squashed middle person – who has to translate your demands into action, keep the management line even if they have reservations, and deal with the needs of the people they directly support, which are not always easy to navigate. They have to manage up, down and sideways – which takes real skill.
Blooming heroes in my view.
Five top tips to help managers deliver:
- Don’t think of your role as managing performance. Rather think of it as supporting people to shine. When you change how you think about the management role you will find yourself naturally doing things that support folk rather than accidentally squashing them!
- Catch people doing something right rather than looking for opportunities to point out where they’ve gone wrong. When people feel noticed for what they do well they tend to work even harder at it.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Constantly tell people what’s going on in the team and the organisation and how their work connects to the vision and purpose.
- Don’t protect people, support them. You employ adults – treat them as adults who have a right to know the tough stuff as well as the good stuff. You don’t empower or inspire by protecting – your job is to support them so that they grow the skills and experience themselves to deal with tough times.
- Remember to praise your own boss when they get it right. You know what it feels like to be responsible for someone and have no real feedback from them about whether or not it’s working. Your boss feels the same, and if you support them they’ll find it easier to support you.
We know it’s tough at that level. But here at DSC we see you, we’re on your side and we will help! So why not take a brief break and join us at our Good Management Matters conference for a much-needed day to learn and explore management techniques? Happening on Wednesday 28 February, register here.