Often, when I talk to managers in the middle of an organisation, they are waiting for senior leaders to give them clarity on their goals or role, or to align their objectives perfectly to make middle managers’ lives more simple.

In reality if you have more than one boss or multiple stakeholders it is unlikely that any one of them has a full understanding of your goal and role.

In this environment if you wait for someone else to understand any pinch points or spot overload or prioritisation problems or challenges you are likely to be very disappointed. Each of the individuals involved only see part of the picture.

You are likely to be the only person who really understand your total goals and role. You are probably the only person to spot conflicts or competing goals.

In psychology there is a concept called learned helplessness where people can become passive and wait for others to solve their problems. This is not a successful strategy in the middle management.

To resolve this we need to empower people in the middle of the organisation to create their own clarity, to manage upwards and to engage multiple stakeholders. If we don’t we may produce learned helplessness or create high levels of dissatisfaction and escalation.

Stop waiting for others to solve your clarity problems, take ownership and drive a solution. You may not always have the authority to resolve the issue yourself but you can initiate a process to get the key stakeholders together or publish your own proposals on what you think should be done.

If you don’t, expect things to continue to be unclear.

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About the author:

Kevan Hall Kevan Hall is a CEO, author, speaker and trainer in matrix management, virtual teams and global working. He is the author of "Speed Lead - faster, simpler ways to manage people, projects and teams in complex companies, "Making the Matrix work - how matrix managers engage people and cut through complexity", and the "Life in a Matrix" podcasts, videos, cartoons and blog. He is CEO and founder of Global Integration. Company profile: .

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