Are your middle managers engaged? Chances are if they're not, neither are the rest of your workforce...
Middle management can play a pivotal role in the communication process, they are responsible for passing messages from the boss to employees and vice versa. However, there is often an extensive chain of people a message goes through before reaching the intended ears. There's an element of risk that the message may become diluted or its purpose misinterpreted along the way.
Trust seems to be a growing factor in the breakdown of communication. A report jointly published in 2016 by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and Top Banana, revealed that only 36% of middle managers trust their senior leaders. Findings from the same survey would reveal that four in five employees lack trust in their CEO.
The pattern of trust among staff was reflected in a company’s recorded performance. The CMI survey showed that prosperous companies have managers retaining an estimated 68% trust in their leaders, whereas companies in a state of decline had only 15% trust.
In order to ensure that your company is among the prosperous group, here's a few things that can be done to ensure better relationships with middle managers, and in turn, the staff.
- There need to be strong lines of communication between the board and middle managers, ensuring all parties are frequently briefed on corporate developments as they occur.
- Your employees may have many issues that they feel need addressing, but have little-to-no opportunity to provide feedback. It is vital you provide the tools for them to do just that. Ask your employees on a regular basis to share their thoughts, ideas and goals for the future.
- Concerns should be acted upon. Handling issues with a proactive approach strengthens trust between all participants in the communication chain. If managers are seen to have acknowledged mistakes and taken the necessary steps to correct them, the workforce will attain that extra level of reassurance.
- Ensure that communication is open and consistent throughout the business. Messages can be easily misunderstood and vital news diluted if business news is left in the hands of the grapevine.
A study by Bersin & Associates revealed that 43% of organisational success resides with mid-managers. By maintaining stronger lines of communication, you can ensure a contribution to your company’s success as well as a more trusting workforce, with middle-management as the glue holding it all together.