What Are Middle Managers and Should You Hire Them?

A middle manager meets with a direct report.

Middle managers can play an important role within your organizational structure. They are often tasked with helping employees improve communication and feel more engaged, among other important responsibilities. When you hire the right fit for your organization, these managers can strengthen the relationship between higher- and lower-level staff, helping your business function more efficiently.

Whether you’re looking for someone to implement plans created by senior leadership or make sure that the day-to-day operation of your team is helping your department reach their goals, middle management might be the solution you need. In this article, we explain:

  • what these managers are
  • whether you should hire them
  • how to hire good-fit candidates

Here’s what to know.

What Are Middle Managers?

They are exactly what they sound like — managers that hold positions in the middle of your top levels of management (such as executives and senior managers) and lower-level employees. Since these managers bridge the gap between the different hierarchical tiers of your organization, they’re generally well-positioned to take on the following responsibilities:

  • Implementing your business strategy: Mid-level managers should be able to transform your high-level staff’s organizational strategy into actionable plans for their teams and departments. While your upper-level staff decides on the direction and sets the gears into motion, your middle-level staff can help clear the path and make sure everyone stays on track.
  • Supporting junior staff: Middle-level management supervises and supports your lower-level staff. They keep track of and make sure employees complete their daily tasks, meet quarterly and yearly goals, and stay aligned with your organization’s objectives.
  • Problem-solving: Since these managers are closer to the inner workings of your business, they are often more aware of issues happening on the ground level. This makes them perfect candidates to solve operational challenges and other problems.
  • Resource allocation: Another responsibility these managers typically take on is managing their team’s resources. This could be keeping an eye on your learning and professional development budgets, the cost of paying personnel, and managing the technology or equipment needed in a way that makes sense for the overall goals of your company.
  • Performance evaluation: These managers are often the employees that conduct performance reviews. Since they manage many of your employees directly, they are in a great place to provide valuable feedback and coaching.
  • Team development: Your middle-level managers work closely with lower-level staff and can decide which capabilities are covered and which skills need more development. As such, they are also typically in charge of fostering a learning-focused work environment.

Should You Hire Them?

Middle managers are great for companies with lots of goals to accomplish and various moving parts. For example, imagine someone is tasked with putting together a large musical performance. They are assembling an orchestra full of musicians who all play different instruments. Some musicians play woodwinds, others play strings, and there is also a percussion section taking shape.

As the orchestra grows, the performance becomes complicated with lots of moving parts. A conductor is eventually needed to step in to make sure people play at the right times and with the appropriate volume and expression.

Think of your middle managers as the conductors who organize the various components of your growing business, making sure everyone performs at their best. You might need to hire them if your business needs improvement in the following areas:

  • Operational efficiency: These managers ensure daily operations run smoothly. They oversee employee tasks, coordinate learning and team-building activities, and address operational challenges hands-on.
  • Communication: Since these managers bridge upper management and lower-level employees, they are in a great position to foster communication between teams. They alert employees to organizational goals, professional expectations, and major changes or strategy shifts. These managers also gather feedback from employees to provide valuable insight for higher-ups.
  • Employee engagement: They play a key role in employee engagement and morale. They are often more accessible to lower-level employees and better able to provide them with the support, guidance, and feedback they need to succeed in their roles. This can contribute to a positive work environment and increase employee satisfaction.
  • Flexibility: They are uniquely positioned to help their teams adapt to changes and implement necessary adjustments at the operational level. Their agility can be crucial in navigating the organization through the transitions and uncertainties that will inevitably surface.

What to Consider When Hiring Middle Managers

When hiring or evaluating mid-level managers, look for the following traits:

  • Leadership skills: These managers should be capable leaders who can guide and inspire their teams. To gauge these skills in your interview, ask the candidate to provide you with examples of how they set a positive example for their team, motivate others, and foster a collaborative work environment.
  • Communication skills: Strong communication skills are essential for mid-tier managers, who must convey information clearly, listen actively, and facilitate effective communication between different levels of the organization. Ask candidates how they handle communication breakdowns or misunderstandings within their team to understand their communication style and understanding.
  • Decision-making skills: These managers often need to make sound decisions, even in the face of uncertainty. Look for candidates who are proactive in addressing their organization’s challenges and adept at identifying and resolving challenges within their department or team.
  • Resilience: Mid-level managers need to pivot and adapt quickly to change. Candidates who are flexible and can navigate uncertain circumstances will be more likely to succeed.
  • Team building and motivation: Great mid-level managers excel in building strong and highly engaged teams. They recognize how to nurture individual talent, foster a supportive team culture, and help their team address conflicts constructively.

Consider these qualities alongside the candidates’ relevant work experience and transferable skills. This will help you get a 360-degree view of which candidates would make a great hire for your open role.

Chart a New Course in Your Organization

Now that you know how to harness the power of middle managers to steer your teams toward better communication and smoother operation, it’s time to source your next great-fit candidates. Start a free trial with Monster today and gain access to millions of professionals who are ready to make an impact on your team.