Wed | Dec 1, 2021

Donna Hussey | Strong communication skills crucial for middle managers

Published:Tuesday | April 16, 2019 | 12:00 AM

I have had the privilege of working for Main Event Entertainment Group Limited for the past 11 years. This platform has allowed me to see first-hand the value of a strong middle-management team. Many people might think that we are a company with a bunch of party junkies, but entertainment is serious business. We are a full-fledged company with several core operational units, requiring a range of middle managers.

Within our company, we have at least a dozen middle managers, and they are the conduit between senior management and general staff. We have a number of teams that drive the business through individual operational units, and as a result, middle managers are tasked with ensuring that there is proper synergy among the teams. That is the only way a company like Main Event can really achieve greatness.

There are so many things that contribute to the success of an event. one small thing can go wrong, and the whole thing crashes. Our middle managers are, therefore, very important in driving these teams. Middle managers, for us, are critical in growing our business and making sure that we maintain an excellent standard at all times.

I believe that all of these intricacies and processes are underpinned by a very crucial tenet, on which I want to focus in this article, which is communication. This is a skill that will always be relevant and one that middle managers must master in order to do their jobs effectively. Organisations must make it a priority to establish clear, robust, and efficient lines of communication within their businesses, which will ensure that policies and goals are properly disseminated.

As Main Event’s corporate affairs manager, communication is one of my core functions. My mandate is to make sure that there is clarity at all times when we communicate with our clients, especially with government departments or senior managers. As such, I am fully aware that a breakdown in proper communication strategies not only reflects badly on the individual, but can create serious challenges for any organisation.

If your company’s policy isn’t effectively communicated to the clients and the public, it can result in unwanted misconceptions, and it really does not allow for good governance.

CONSTANT TRAINING NECESSARY

There was a time when it was solely the responsibility of top-level management to interact with clients and the public, but this has changed drastically. Middle managers now have the responsibility to make sure that they have in-depth knowledge about the direction in which the company is going and are able to communicate the vision of their organisation clearly.

We are living in the digital ages and this means that there are new and emerging communication platforms. The middle manager must be on top of these trends and be able to navigate the varying nuances.

How do you handle yourself when it comes to the media? How do you communicate when there is a crisis? How do you communicate with a disgruntled client and restore trust? These are a few of the situations that arise every day, and as such, you must be equipped with the tools to manoeuvre these hurdles successfully.

I highly recommend constant training as a strategy to equip middle managers in this area. As an organisation, we recently went through training with all senior and middle managers, where they had to articulate what the company’s vision meant. One may view the exercise as trivial, but it is important for middle managers to have a deep understanding of what we do and the thinking behind it.

As a business, we carve out a budget each year to train team members, with a keen focus on middle managers. The Middle Managers Conference is part of that push, and we also send team members to conferences and trade shows abroad.

Finally, we can’t ignore the significance of middle managers being competent to handle the technological landscape. As someone who interviews prospective employees regularly, one finds that generally, individuals are aware of the standard programmes such as Microsoft Office Suite, but for one to really move ahead in business, one has to be a lot more adept with programmes that can push one’s organisation forward.

SOCIAL MEDIA

I fail to see how a middle manager can progress in this age if the person is unable to navigate the social media landscape. Middle managers need to be social media savvy if they intend to communicate and operate effectively in this era. For me, it is unacceptable to remain ignorant yet still expect to grow and expand within an organisation.

Going forward, I urge middle managers to be respectful of senior management and one’s team. Lead with influence. Influence management is really big for me. people must see the good that you do and the outstanding results. Get adequate and in-depth training, and never assume that you have arrived. You are never too old or too young to learn.

- Donna Hussey is corporate affairs manager at Main Event Entertainment Group Limited. The Make Your Mark Consultants team, this year, celebrates 10 years of hosting its annual Middle Managers Conference, slated for May 7 and 8.