The 10 Commandments of the Mid-Level Manager

The 10 Commandments have served as a code of conduct by which we can live a moral life. Wouldn’t it be interesting (and make organizational life a little simpler) to have 10 Commandments for Mid-Level Managers? See if the following help with professional effectiveness and clarity.

As a Mid-Level Manager, thou shall –

1. Do what the Executive /CEO asks for
Like it or not, Mid-Level Managers exist so that executives can delegate tasks they don’t want to do, are too busy to do, or don’t have the expertise to do.

2. Focus upward (your boss) and downward (your direct reports)
You represent, support and articulate the policies and procedures set by Senior Management and you represent, support and articulate the concerns, interests and observations of your employees.

3. Understand the need for risk
Raising questions to your boss comes with the risk of being seen as insubordinate so effective communication (not total capitulation) skills are essential. That said – you are expected to carry out the goals your boss sets forth.

4. Know it will be a bumpy ride
Not everyone will like what you have to say so prepare for some unhappy folks, some bumps in the road, hurt feelings and misunderstandings, resentments along the way – if you are doing your job right, it is unavoidable.

5. Motivate the Flock
Understanding how to motivate an increasingly diverse workforce and keep them connected to the mission of the organization is a critical part of the job. As those things change, flexibility is an essential asset.

6. Go it alone
It is almost impossible to maintain friendships with people you used to work alongside now that you have control over their work, their resume and their paycheck. They say it’s lonely at the top, but without a strong professional network of peers, it’s lonely at in the middle too.

7. Leverages influence to get things done
The job involves your level of influence and your accountability involves the delivery of services or products that are used or consumed by someone inside your organization.

8. Handle talent with care
The job is about attracting, developing and retaining talent, and making everyone feel welcome, respected and valued.

9. Not make the big decisions
You won’t decide the new markets to enter, what the business strategy should be, select firms to merge with, determine how much to invest, and select the technology to employ.

10. Communicate with purpose
A great deal of time is spent mediating between teams and divisions within the organization, and between the organization and its customers. Mid Level Managers today negotiate between different interests and help them make key decisions about trade-offs.

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