Developing Middle Managers: 5 Suggestions!

January 14, 2019

We’ve all heard and likely executed, the notion that the example and company culture starts at the top with senior leadership. While it is tremendously important for those in senior leadership positions to embrace, embody, and champion organizational changes and organizational culture, middle managers play a crucial part in implementing and executing organizational strategies and cultural changes.

Neglecting to strengthen the middle of an organization may lead to high turnover, a decrease in employee engagement, or poor succession down the line.

Strengthening the middle leads to better leaders, prepared for managing change, coaching emerging leaders, and executing the strategic vision of the organization. Employers need to train and develop mid-level managers.

Middle managers face a whole new set of leadership challenges as they begin to progress their careers. It’s no longer just about holding employees accountable for their work and their contributions. Here are five suggested skills your mid-level leaders need for success:

  1. Strategic Leadership

Leadership is much different from management. Middle management is the cornerstone of an organization’s strategic initiatives and the execution of those initiatives. Making the transition from manager to strategic leader requires much more critical thinking.

While managing demands planning, budgeting, organizing, performance managing, and staffing, it takes a true leader to understand the significance of setting direction, aligning people, empowering, motivating, and inspiring.

It’s when a manager finds his or her ability to go beyond the managing and embrace being a leader that success is reached.

  1. Retaining and Engaging Talent

Building a greater awareness of how talent development is a critical success factor in ensuring the future of the organization in a competitive marketplace. Middle managers should obtain the knowledge of what defines the top talent in an organization and what qualities or characteristics are associated with talented professionals.

  1. Developmental Coaching

Managers have a lot of responsibility. They have routine team management to look after and often have a plate full of work only they can complete. It’s crucial for middle managers to not only manage their day-to-day but to strategically think about how they can improve the way their team works.

One of the key aspects of their role is to help their team members grow, develop, and flourish. This can be achieved through coaching.

A great leader is someone who manages workload and performance but also someone who nurtures their individual team member’s abilities. Someone who is one their employee’s side, who encourages, and works with employees to set goals that challenge them.

Turning middle managers into developmental coaches can have an incredible impact on the success of an organization. Coaching employees turns into engagement increases, performance boosts, and job satisfaction.

  1. Finance for the Non-Financial Professional

Financial acumen is a skill that can be invaluable to a mid-level leader. Having an understanding of how a department, division, or team financially impacts people, expenses, revenue, margin, and indirect costs such as time, inconvenience, etc., puts middle managers in an advantageous spot for their group to strategically align with the organization.

The results of a mid-level manager understanding basic business finance include the ability to identify and quantify key drivers, develop, measure, and report key metrics, budget, present effective business cases, and interpret key financial statements, among many more.

  1. Emotional Intelligence

Understanding self-awareness and social awareness begins with discovering more within oneself and others. A mid-level manager should use their emotional intelligence to improve their own communication, conflict management, and the communication with their team.

In addition, losing their emotions and lashing out an employee can create a negative effect on everything the manager tried to accomplish. Not to mention such outburst can lead to liability. Managers have to stay in control of their emotions.

Senior management should keep in mind that good middle managers makes their job easier. Good luck!


2019 HR Compliance Checklist!

January 7, 2019

Today is the start of the first full week of 2019. Which means it’s a perfect time to take a step back and review your efforts at HR and employment-law compliance for the coming year.

This list is not meant to be complete or exhaustive, but should provide a high level look at the top 20 issues that you should be reviewing this year, and every year for your business.

☑️ How many employees do you have (15 / 20 / 50)?

☑️ When is the last time your handbook has been reviewed and updated?

☑️ When was your last harassment / respectful workplace training?

☑️ Do you require restrictive covenants for key employees?

☑️ Do you have employees that work in states in which marijuana is legal?

☑️ Do you have federal contracts?

☑️ Are you employment law posters up to date?

☑️ Has your state or local minimum wage increased?

☑️ How are you calculating and paying overtime to non-exempt employees?

☑️ When did you last analyze your exempt employees?

☑️ Do you have independent contractors?

☑️ Is all of your workplace OSHA compliant?

☑️ Are your OSHA 300 logs up to date and your 300A form posted?

☑️ Are your FMLA forms up to date?

☑️ Are you managers trained on the ADA interactive process?

☑️ Are you job applications and workplace accessible for the disabled?

☑️ Do you know what devices are accessing your network?

☑️ Have you tested your network and work environment for security?

☑️ Are employees trained on cyber security compliance?

☑️ Do you have necessary and appropriate insurance (EPLI / Cyber / D&O)?

It’s a new year with unknown issues confronting businesses. The list above is designed to hopefully cut down on the possibilities. I strongly suggest that you go through the list and address those issues that are applicable to you. If you need assistance in any of the above consult with your counsel or feel free to contact Potts & Associates.

Don’t forget, Jim Potts is streaming live on LA Talk Radio on Sundays at 3 pm PST.