Advice From The Middle

Here are some tips from middle managers about how to do their jobs effectively:

Create clear service-level agreements with users. Find out what's important to customers in terms of uptime and support.

Bill Stanley, Mellon Financial

Create growth opportunities other than management jobs. Give employees a range of advancement options.

Mike Keslar, Mellon Financial

Avoid unnecessary meetings, but when they are essential, separate them into two categories. The first type is precise: outline objectives ahead of time and check them off as you address them at the meeting. The second type is more conceptual and creative: discuss new ways of doing work and how factors affect people's careers. Let conversations evolve naturally.

Bic Vogel, Delta Technology

Create a dual management structure. Under this scenario, one manager is responsible for career development - hiring and retaining workers within a particular discipline. The other is responsible for project deliverables.

Stephen Kessler, MetLife

Provide fair, complete, candid performance evaluations. Regularly tell your direct reports exactly what they do well or what they need to improve upon. Your strongest employees need feedback or they'll lose their motivation.

Bic Vogel, Delta Technology

Don't cut personal lives off from the job. Be aware of circumstances that could affect workers' performance and offer to cut them slack before they have to ask for it.

Valorie Hartridge, Marriott International

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