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How To Support Middle Managers To Be Able to Lead Supporting the development of strong managerial skills of middle managers is crucial for achieving the organisation's goals.

By Warsha Joshi

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Overburdened and undertrained mid-level managers are often on the verge of burning out, just as they are being considered for more senior leadership roles. It isn't unusual for these managers to face, or even create obstacles that hinder their ability to lead. In today's day and age, middle managers hold a diverse range of responsibilities from strategy and innovation to sales and monthly quotas. They are usually and the important link between the executive leadership team and the rest of the employees. Middle managers are responsible for implementing the organisations' strategy and for the overall management of needed continuity and business benefits.

Since the start of the 21st century, this role has evolved even further with responsibilities widened, pace and work intensity increased, work hours lengthened and performances being monitored more closely. With so much added pressure and limited resources, mid-level managers often struggle and lose sight of the bigger picture required.

It's clear that organisations need to change their approach to administrative tasks to innovate and grow. The more successful organisations are often those who consider strategies for releasing time to manage in the face of increasing workloads and decreasing resources. For instance, using a Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA) can save hours from your work week, but knowing which tasks to delegate can be tricky, whether you're starting or growing a business. The difficulties surrounding the retention of mid-level managers stem from the lack of assistance and support of a personal assistant. Some of the key problems faced by mid-level managers include:

High volume of work, less opportunities for development
With a high volume of work, very little communication and even less opportunities for development, mid-level managers can feel like they are out on their own. This issue can be highly problematic and can affect an organisation's strategic functionality. It is important that companies consider hiring a VEA, a cost-effective solution to rein high returns. An executive assistant can be called upon to take care of the administrative and operational tasks without the extra operational costs required to hire a full-time employee.

Talent shortage
Sourcing and retaining a skilled workforce is a constant challenge in the Middle East, leaving the responsibilities back in the hands of a middle-level manager. This can be easily resolved with a VEA, who typically has more than five years of corporate experience and in many cases broad regional experience. VEAs are highly skilled and trained individuals who are carefully selected after a rigorous interview process. This type of skill set minimises the requirement of companies having to invest in additional training and resources. More importantly, this type of skill in the workplace can relieve some of workload from the middle-level manager, leaving them to focus on the core business. More and more organisations are beginning to realise that a VEA is actually a more savvy business move that can create high returns and greater profits. Today's VEA services provide companies with a perfect balance in confidentiality, choice of administrative tasks, regional experience, and the all-important cost-effective solutions.

Lack of trust to delegate
As pressure mounts in the workforce to develop results, expectations to produce at work, coupled with a work-life balance, demand an alternative to getting things done. This is where the mid-level manager falls by trying to do everything. Delegation is easier said than done, however, sometimes it is hard to delegate to a new employee who is learning the tricks of the trade than working alongside a trusted VEA who is already qualified and experienced for the role. VEAs are no longer considered a luxury but more a necessity for business growth. The common belief that only C-Level executives can afford the luxury of an assistant no longer applies, as companies are beginning to realise that a qualified VEA provider can support them on various levels with tasks varying from operational support, email management to agenda planning and much more.

Related: Millennials In The Middle East: How To Understand, Foster Leadership, And Manage Your New Workforce

Warsha Joshi

Founder and Managing Director, Platinum VA, and CEO, Expressions Arabia

Warsha Joshi is the Founder and Managing Director of Platinum VA and Chief Executive Officer of Expressions Arabia.

Joshi set up Platinum VA in 2010 to provide Virtual Executive Assistance to regionally based consulting firms operating in the GCC. Known as a highly accomplished entrepreneur, Joshi works with corporate leaders to build the skills and culture needed for change to become part of the corporate DNA, creating agile, collaborative and engaged teams. Her experience with clients in a variety of sizes and sectors gives her a broad background for developing practical solutions that deliver significant results. With more than 17 years of senior-level business experience across India and the Middle East, Joshi’s wisdom and relentless pursuit of creativity led her to successfully open Platinum VA confidently into the future.

Joshi also leads Expressions Arabia, a business that brings globally renowned trainers and administrative developmental programmes for admin professionals to corporates across the GCC and the Middle East and Africa. As CEO, Joshi is the driving force behind influential projects, with a solid reputation for spearheading growth and long-term value. Joshi is also a Certified Gazelles International Coach, helping founders and CEOs of small to mid- sized organizations successfully scale up their businesses by mastering the “Rockefeller Habits.” Driven by a relentless passion to help business leaders get what they really want, in business and life, Joshi is regularly sought out to facilitate strategic planning sessions for CEOs and their leadership teams across the GCC.

With a strong family background of entrepreneurs in India, Joshi founded her first two businesses in 1985 and 1987 and built them into market leaders before selling them 11 years later. Joshi holds a Master’s degree in Economics from Osmania University in India. In her free time, Joshi enjoys spending time with family and friends and actively supports volunteer organizations, including animal charities and much more.


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