As a middle manager, of any sort, you are in effect a chief executive of an organization yourself. Don’t wait for the principles and the practices you find appealing or valid to be imposed from the top. As a micro CEO, you can improve your own and your group’s performance and productivity, whether or not the rest of the company follows suit. Andrew S. Grove
Customer expectations have risen because increasing competition has led to higher and higher standards of quality and service. Such a business environment puts intense pressure on senior management. Senior management, in turn, passes this pressure through the organization structure to middle management, first and second-line supervisors or team leaders. Meanwhile these supervisors and team leaders are faced with another set of problems with the people they lead. Workers are demanding higher levels of job satisfaction and a better quality of working life.
The first-line supervisor, often promoted because of technical skill, is caught between workers’ expectations and management pressure for increasing quality and productivity. Many supervisors feeling this sort of pressure withdraw into areas in which they feel technically competent, leaving management frustrated and the workforce insecure.
When organizational change is introduced into this sort of environment, supervisors are likely to feel even more threatened. It is no wonder many managers and supervisors opt out before they begin. As a consequence, many of the work-related problems within organizations are associated with the supervisory level. Supervisors are seen as the cause of the problem, rather than the window through which other deeper, more complex problems are made visible. This level, rather than being the weak link in the chain, is the link under the most pressure, and is therefore the most likely to break.
The solution lies in a definite strategy for the supervisory level before progressing to the workforce. In short, get it right at this level first, then approach the workforce. Otherwise, the progress of performance improvement systems will be hampered. This is what a client of Sacher Associates had to say after running our Micro CEO concept through his organization:
Although the strong Australian team based culture does create a great work environment, it does make it more difficult for supervisors to manage through change or unpopular decisions.This is particularly difficult where the first-line supervisor has worked his/her way up through the ranks and therefore where "previously old mates" now report to them. This difficulty often stems from the fact that they often still identify with the team that they now lead. (they need to part of the team but not identify with the team) - This is the "wall" we sometimes talk about.
The Sacher Associates Micro CEO approach, no doubt, goes far in providing the supervisor real tools in developing an effective team - A process to work through the change. The training programs that we currently run in Boral do provide the leader with skills to lead his team etc, etc, but this approach provides clear direction and process around what makes up a high performance team and how you practically apply this knowledge.
One of the things that has really had a big impact on why we have embarked on this program is that we are not talking about a concept that "gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling and hope that you are achieving something" but a concept that has to appeal to the practical "engineering" mind. Mr Duncan Fraser, National General Manager, Boral
The Sacher Associates Micro CEO training gives team leaders and middle managers very specific and applied training on how to identify, measure and implement the essential components of team performance into the teams that they lead. This enables and empowers them to achieve measurable performance improvements against their pre-determined targets taking into account the tough work environment or culture in which they operate.
For more information on Micro CEO training click here.