5 Thoughts for Mid-Level Managers

What seems like a life time ago I was flying back from working with some mid- to upper-level managers and I was making some notes about things that I thought they could do to impact the systems in their organizations.  These managers were not the top executives, so they didn’t have direct control over strategy or the systems inside and outside of their organization, yet, it was important for them to be able to impact those systems in other ways. 

As I was continuing to unpack boxes from our move a little over a year ago, and rearrange things in my office, I uncovered my notes from that plane ride.  As I reviewed them I thought that these thoughts might also be useful for others that didn’t get to attend my session, despite the fact that they were sort of specific to the material we covered in that session.  So here they are:

Things to Do to Impact Your Systems:

  1. Catch people doing things right.  If you focus on what is going right instead of what is going wrong you might find that there is a lot going right in your organization.  Too often we get discouraged, and discourage others, because we are continually only seeing what is wrong.  If you have managers reporting to you then also encourage them to catch people doing things right; then have them tell you about it so you can also thank them for their “right stuff.”
  2. Stop telling people what to do.  Instead, tell them the goal, objective, or problem, and ask them how they would handle it.  You just might be surprised at the innovative and creative ways that they might have for getting things accomplished.  Remember, you do not have to have all the answers; you just have to ask the right questions.
  3. Ask “why” a lot.  Don’t take the way things have “always been done” for granted.  At one time the way things were being done might have been a good way of doing them; but time and circumstances change, and they may not be the best way any longer.  If you do consider making changes then always keep in mind the impact those changes will have on others.   
  4. Insure you know what your organization’s top goals are and how you and your team impact those goals.  Share your thoughts with your staff and encourage them to share theirs with you and the team.  Constantly talk about the importance of these goals.  Find a way to measure and track progress on these goals.  But when talking about your goals make sure that you also talk about the values that place boundaries on your behaviors in reaching those goals. 
  5. Be Purposful!!!  Remember, the best managers and best teams don’t get that way by accident, but rather through intent and purpose.  Think about the things you want to talk about to your people, such as the Purpose, Values and Goals of the organization and team.  Remember that you need to constantly be looking for opportunities to provide recognition for the good things that your people are doing.  Always look for ways that you can help your people do their jobs better, including yourself.  Keep in mind what you want to achieve, and how your people can help your team achieve it and remember that in interactions that it isn’t about you always being “proven right,” but rather it is about being effective in achieving your goals that matters.    

As I reviewed these, maybe these are some good thoughts for managers at all levels, not just the mid-level managers that I was working with.

Make a Great Day!