Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
One of the biggest frustrations of Middle Management’s managers is that, sometimes, they need to take decisions that, normally, they wouldn’t – just because those choices come from the higher-ups.
As a middle manager, sometimes, you take part in the process of taking decisions; other times, the decision is simply announced, and you, along with your team, are responsible for carrying out the submitted plan.
In this context, it would be tempting to tell your colleagues, or even your team, that you are not convinced that this is the best business solution.
What to do in such situations?
Resist the temptation to critique!
(According to Business Dictionary, the role of a Middle Manager is to implement the strategies and directives from Top management; to supervise the subordinate managers and your team as efficiently as possible, for the proper function of the company.
Your mission, as a middle manager, is to help the company succeed. You will not fulfill this role if you undermine, intentionally or not, the decisions made by top management.
Instead, start by answering whether or not you trust the organization you work for. If you are not convinced that the top management makes good decisions, it’s probably time for you to start looking for another job.
If you trust the company you work for, then start convincing yourself that the decision is actually a good one. Most of the time, we tend to criticize the decisions made by superiors than to integrate them in our personal perspective. It’s easier like this. Nonetheless, the confidence in your top managers decisions helps developing the company.
To help convince yourself of the decisions made by top management, put yourself in the shoes of someone who whole-heartedly believes in those decisions. Ask yourself why someone would make decisions like these.
Search for reasons why these decisions would be good ones, and argue against any objections that may arise. Once you truly believe in those decisions, you will be ready to start working with the team.
3 decisions for the development of your business, 3 different perspectives:
The top management decides on implementing a motivation campaign for the D2D sales team. The prize? A holiday in Thailand.
How the sales managers receive the news: they had better divided the money between all agents or send them all to the local sea (e.g. Mamaia).
The top management team decides to change the billing app with a new one, that was already implemented in EMEA subsidiaries, in order to support all operations and the extended customer base.
How the it managers receive the news: it would’ve been better to develop an internal application – it would’ve taken more time, but it would’ve cost less.
The team management decides to develop a CRM application to streamline sales.
How the managers of the agencies receive the news: it would’ve been better to invest this amount of money in new, more special destinations, in order to attract a new segment of clients.
Obviously, if things are viewed from different angles, the perspectives differ as well.
Ask yourself: how does this decision helps me and my team?
In the first place, the amount of effort the team puts into making a plan depends largely on how much the team believes in said strategy. If you communicate a new action with half the enthusiasm, you will not get the maximum effect, because people will feel that you are not excited about the work you have to do.
Additionally, even the best plans face some difficulties from various factors: the plan may fail, more effort would be needed, or the team must innovate to find the right way to implement it. How your colleagues interpret inevitable problems and the necessary solutions to fix them depends on their commitment to the plan. If, fear stimulates them, they are already looking for reasons as to why the option will fail; they are less likely to be motivated by believing in the success of the plan than by overcoming the difficulties they will face. Confidently sharing a plan might help in developing a self-fulfillment ”prophecy”.
Furthermore, any reservation regarding the decision might strengthen the plans you develop with your team. Use this list of obstacles in order to develop a list of unforeseen situations, so you can cope with what you think might not work. Research suggests that the better prepared you are for any problems that may arise, the more prepared you are to solve them once they occur.
The best solution is to treat your choices with enough respect in order to offer the best chance of succeeding.
Did you like this article? We discuss how conflicts can be mediated in company in the course Problem solving and conflict management, part of the Next Level Management program for the development of management skills that can be transmitted immediately to the job.