Fostering an engaged workforce may start at the top, but it’s the next folks in line who drive it through the ranks and make it happen. Middle managers are the vital link between the corner office and the cubicle crowd. They set the example for engaged behavior, communicate corporate news and policies, and facilitate feedback to upper management. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of this very valuable human resource:
Empower them! Middle managers often feel like the corporate “fall guys”, forced to execute (and sometimes bear the blame for) bad decisions without the power to push back. Let them know they have authority as well as accountability and be prepared to back them up when they wield it.
Delegate decision-making. Many corporate practices and policies can be modified or even made by middle managers. Think about it: they see first-hand how those practices affect employee morale and, ultimately, productivity. Solicit their input next time there’s a corporate-wide decision on the table. And allow them to make appropriate department-wide decisions.
Encourage collaboration. A united workforce is an engaged workforce. Just like the “ivory tower” mentality among upper management, the creation of “siloes” among middle management cuts off communication and collaboration – this time, between departments. One way to help break down the siloes: bring managers together on a quarterly basis to share their concerns, challenges and successes.
Be there for them. This applies to both upper management and human resources. Give your middle managers the assurance that you can provide the resources, support and encouragement they need to engage their employees and make your organization even more successful!