Developing Leadership Capabilities as a Middle Manager
5 key competencies to focus on:
Building strong leadership capabilities is increasing becoming an issue for organizations globally. According to a survey recently conducted by the software company ‘Halogen Software’ of the HR professionals surveyed more than half (59 per cent) said middle management was the most critical short-term talent need for organizations. Given that most employees report directly to a middle manager what competencies do middle managers need and how can they develop these themselves?
These five critical competencies for middle managers include the following:
- Leadership – think about your leadership style – how are you using this to your advantage? It’s worth looking hard at your style to ensure that you are getting the best from your people. Collaboration, coaching and mentoring staff, letting employees have a voice and valuing diversity are essential in today’s modern organizations. Consider that today we have differences because of generations, education, aspirations, and culture so using a style or hanging onto a style that is out dated won’t help you.
- Communication – Think about how effective you are as a communicator? Remember that communication is both verbal and non-verbal. Use various forms of communication, not just email. Talk regularly with your team to understand issues and challenges and be prepared to listen. Effective questioning techniques are also essential to find out what is working and what is not.
- Problem solving – do you encourage others to solve problems or insist that employees leave you to solve all the problems? Some managers still insist on this and this can be both time consuming and exhausting. Encourage employees to solve problems, this will also encourage creativity and innovation.
- Teamwork – how do you encourage team work? Do you encourage collaboration, effective communication and team goals as part of a strategy for effective team work? There are many advantages to teamwork, including increased motivation, morale and retention
- Learning and Growth – How effective are you at encouraging learning and growth? A good leader see’s learning as a tool to increase performance, engagement and competitive advantage for your organization. Be careful though to ensure that you use a variety of approaches to learning such as coaching, projects, mentoring, and learning events. Avoid using training as a reward; employees need to see the value for this development. They will not thank you for sending them on training that they see no value or advantage for.
Consider building these capabilities, they will pay dividends in managing your team and ensure that you connect the strategic goals of your organization to the everyday responsibilities of your team. This will also see you retaining your staff, increase engagement and productivity. Aspirations of every manager!
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