The first step for mid-level managers is to recognize that they are leaders of their teams, says Elena Paraskevas-Thadani (She/Her)
“I am just a mid-level manager; what can *I* do?”
This is often asked rhetorically, as an excuse by a frustrated manager due to their perceived inability to address a situation.
Employees, however, do not see a midlevel manager. They see a manager. A leader. And if you’re lucky enough to have your team trust you with their challenges, you must address them.
What does that look like?
Listen. If someone is coming to you, they are utilizing the power of your role as a “point person” to resolve problems.
Escalate. Don’t tell them you are powerless and that they should go to someone else. Because if YOU are powerless, they are more so. You have just taken away any hope of possible resolution.
Recognize you are NOT powerless. You were made a manager and DO have power an authority. How are you going to use it here? Model good conflict resolution techniques by raising issues.
Circle back. Regardless of the outcome, follow up and circle back with the teammember who raised the issue.
“But I don’t have the TIME for all this!” I assure you, this takes less time than the alternatives (lawsuits, talent loss, client loss, bad morale, etc.), caused by festering situations.
With power comes responsibility. But first you must recognize you have it.