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  • Writer's pictureMark Dickinson

Middle Managers Determine your Success

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

The need for someone to 'do the job' can be your greatest enemy. In many organizations that have grown beyond owning a single outlet, one of the biggest challenges operators face is finding good managers. Hospitality Master Trainer Mark Dickinson, focuses on the power of Transformational Training and tells us more. Middle managers are the most likely subject of quick hires and are often on-boarded or promoted without in-depth research. One thing is certain; no matter how these middle managers get to their positions, they remain pivotal to your success in building an excellent organization. They may be the deciding factor between your success and failure, and yet senior management continues to give minimal attention to hiring personnel for these positions. First let's consider these questions: Who do we mean when we talk about middle managers?

  • Team leaders, shift leaders, supervisors and assistant managers.

Why are middle managers so important?

  • Because they actually lead the employees in your team • Because their influence can lead to powerful results or mediocrity.

How did many of them become a middle manager?

  • The majority of middle managers were promoted from within the ranks.

How much focus is on middle thinking?

  • Generally not very much. Top management have a lot to do and these folks are expeditors of policy, therefore organizations rarely engage such employees at an important decision-making level.

What are the challenges that middle managers face?

  • They have a junior position and are seldom invited to meet with senior management, therefore their opinions languish or fester.        

  • 'No one listens to me' is their frequent complaint.

  • They are expected to work longer hours as a sign of their commitment and loyalty.            

Who Hires them?

  • Anyone can hire a middle manager. They don't need much in the way of approval because middle manager's salary is relatively affordable. They are a cog in the system.

Buried Treasure · These people are your treasure. They can be harnessed to deliver outstanding results for your organization, but there is one essential ingredient required to make this happen: Education. You need to have an unparalleled passion for ensuring that these individuals get the best information and growth opportunities that you can reasonably provide. They need to be engaged within your organization and given responsibilities that allow them to shine. Give them significance · When middle managers are empowered through praise, recognition and affirmation, they begin to deliver at much higher levels. This is great and gets a lot of people really excited; namely the middle managers and the people that work under their supervision. However, we also discovered that this spurt in growth frequently created instant resistance from a surprising quarter: their managers. Yes, that's right. The managers of the middle managers become highly insecure once the middle managers start to grow. You may ask yourself, 'Why?', as we did, and then dig a little deeper. What we discovered is that as soon as the middle managers start to grow, those ruling them felt pressure from a newly empowered junior employee, who now aspires to experience managing an operation on his or her own. The effect was most noticeable on managers who had held their position for over two years. How was the resistance Characterized? · There was an increase in squeaky wheels. A squeaky wheel is that insidious act of undermining others without actually appearing to say anything bad, such as dropping hints about poor performance and naming non-producers. We actually discovered managers criticizing juniors for attending training and not working. This effectively put the brakes on the rising star, with the objective of proving to those that will listen why the manager is more important than the middle manager. We also undertook some tests (management exercises), including one where we asked organizations to get their management team to draft the best possible company structure they could think of, without imposing any limits, for their businesses. Through this exercise we found that the teams always eliminated many management positions that would result in making their company simpler to run. Wherever the teams were empowered to implement the plan they had created, it led to an in-to-out change that was self-inspired and therefore highly effective. We developed the study a bit further and suggested that some senior managers go on vacation for extended periods, ostensibly to clear vacations, but in reality to see what would happen to their division/department's performance in their absence. The results were again quite surprising. Rather like popping the cork on a bottle of champagne, all the good stuff in the bottle was now accessible, and the middle managers began to shine. With no manager impeding their progress, change was rapid. Now there were some organizations where we discovered highly-engaged seniors and great juniors working together in harmony. The result? A supercharged business. Here we studied why they were able to work together and what made them different. Two key things stood out above all else. In the highly successful business, the teams were humble and grateful. Humility gave them the power to listen and to respect one another, even when they did not agree. Gratitude bound them like glue. Everyone had a feeling of thankfulness for their work and the company. MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM 1. Thinking - Flow, Click, Think - teach people how to think. Most people have never been taught how to think. It is a rich creative process that taps into the inner strength of the brain 2. The Mechanics of Change - explaining to people how to change brightens up their lives. We are told that we are too fat, too thin, too loud, too this and too that. But the reason people don't change is because no one has taught them how. Teach people to change by showing them how to focus, what kind of help is available to them and how to deal with inner conflicts. 3. Influence - get people to practice influencing others (for good). Teach your team how to get what the organization wants through using neuro skills to affect their outcomes 4. True Leadership - explain what real leadership is all about. It's not about a list of skills, but rather about the personal passion to do what is right, that will eventually determine who will lead. 5. Get away from the profit and loss (P&L) mindset that pervades our industry and teach your people to make a relationship between material costs and income, between money spent and money earned. Engaging your management team on this level will leverage your cashflow. 6. Affirm to your team that it is good to be still and observe your operation from time to time. We run a program called Sit & Watch® that teaches managers how to observe their own operations from different perspectives. 7. Key to success is the ability to manage what people do with their time. Lead your managers into effective planning of time usage and you gain 1000 percent return on your investment into them. 8. Today neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and embedded commands are all around us. It's not hocus-pocus, it's real. Powerfully tap into the neuro energy around you and use it for the good of your business. Massive sales result from taking intelligent actions on a consistent and sustained basis. Show your people how. 9. While motivation and delegation have been management speak for decades, rather we should focus on how NOT to demotivate and how to spread empowerment to the lowest possible level so that business thrives. 10. Most evaluation processes are a total and utter waste of time. So stop doing them. Get your management team into the habit of having instant and continual dialogue about performance and you will see massive change. It is not coincidental. You get what you focus on, so focus on what you want. 11. Show your team how to select the greatest people possible to join your team. Destroy all the archaic hiring processes and come up with consensus-based hiring, where teams decide who they would like to work with, and empower them to select their own leadership. 12. Express the value of details and imprint it into the daily mindset of your most junior people. They will love the focus and will become obsessed with doing things to the highest possible standards.

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