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28Oct 2021

Middle Management Crisis




Who are these Mid Managers? They are the intermediary management level in the hierarchy who are subordinate to the executive management. They are responsible to lead a team or a line of managers and execute plans based on the company’s policies.


They play a critical role in the organization and are persons who are responsible for change, accountable to the top management for their departmental function.


They are the communicating link between the upper and lower levels in the organizationand pass on the information regarding the changes,organizational strategies and initiatives down the lane.


It may be noted that the middle management role is difficult but not impossible and generally careers are made or broken at his level.


Some of the reasons for this mid management crisis could be the following:


1.Now with the Covid-19 situation, we find that the mid-management levels are having increased role to play. These mid-managers shoulder a great deal of responsibility but do not know how to handle it. They also face a situation where there are limited resources. This leads to underperforming mid-managers who are demoralized.


2.Identity crises- There are no surety of their authority to carry out the task due to poor definition of their roles. If the role to be played by them are ambiguous then there may be a conflict of task which may lead to a barrier in them to perform their task and thus to achieve their goals. The lower levels depend on these mid-managers for the execution of the role however; the mid-managers lack the skills, also do not have the required training for the execution of the work allotted and henceare underperforming.


3.Being a mid-man between the top management and the lower subordinate, they are expected not only to hire but also to manage the lowers levers and reprimand them when required.They have to delegate work for which a good communication skill is important.They have to be in a position to make decisions.They are then tarnished as bad despite the fact they may not always agree with what the top management wants to implement.


4.Thrusting leadership status on incapable people-Not everyone can be a leader so if leadership is imposed on them then they underperform. So it’s better to get a psychometric test done to see the capability of the person before appointing them as a leader or in the managerial role and not just upgrade them without an assessment.


So considering the above circumstances let’s see how we can deal with this crisis:


1. Prioritize the work- The management is normally in a hurry to get the work done. But this has to be done based on the priority of work especially while in a crisis. So the leaders have to keep the organization trained on how to continue the business focusing on the more important ones first.


2. There can be conflicting interests in the way things are handled by one vis-a-vie the others. So the priority could be of urgency, importance or about the success of the project or survival today. In such cases, one may have to trade off a decision for the betterment.


3. Empower decision makers - There has to be a clear cut line beyond which the matter to be decided must be escalated to the higher-ups. The decisions have to be pushed down and one must not just be a mediator of the decision.


4. Despite all precautions mishap can take place. This does not call for punishment as not doing any action can be worse. You have to delegate and trust your people as they make tough decisions and provide support and guidance based on your experience without the temptation of taking over. 


5. One has to adapt to changing situations and move ahead. They have to be made to admit what they don’t know and learn the same. Choice regarding what to do and what not to do, have to be implemented and prioritized.


6. Previous actions may not have brought results so leaders have to throw away redundant methods and adjust to the new course of action.


7. One has to be proactive with the front line to know what is happening at the ground level. The action then has to be initiated and sorted out by the mid-managers with the help of innovative practices.


8. Ownership in case of crisis - Mid managers have to stay alert to situations and review the performances frequently. At times they have to take ownership of the situation.


9. It is important that the mid managers maintain equilibrium of body, mind and soul. They need to learn to absorb and adapt and maintain a cool to get work done. 


10. Motivation of the team is a priority for good results. Communication of the goals on regular basis and getting feedback, understand and remove distractions in the team's mind is one important role that mid managers must play for effectively overcoming the crisis.


11. They must ask for help when required and however good a manager maybe, they cannot do all work by themselves. They have to lead with empathy. Determine what decisions they can make and then others are to be delegated. 


12. Train the team for crisis leadership- Priorities are ever-changing and with the limited time to react, the mid-managers have to navigate the team and for this, training the team to handle such crisis when it arises is one of prime importance to boost leaders effectiveness. Proper focus and seeing beyond the immediate to anticipate the next obstacles is necessary.




Crisis management is important for the mid-management and how well the mid manager handles the situation when this crisis arises and brings forth the change and ensures movement ahead establishes how fast one who will succeed in the position. The actions of the executives and the team in the midst of crises will determine their fate. Effective leaders in crises ensure that someone else leads the present situation while he focuses on leading beyond the crises towards a more promising future.