Being an intermediate manager is the real deal! It is an intimidating position, but very important. It is a transitional role, where you are now in charge of a group of subordinates but are also under the control of your superiors. As scary as this position can be, you mustn’t lose your vision and get the best out of yourself and your team.
You may be faced with the choice of choosing the type of organization you want to work for, whether it is a start-up or a large corporation, however, these are two different experiences. The overall structure, operation and organization of the two establishments differ considerably and this is what makes the experience of these two so extraordinary but unique from each other.
Explore these organizations from the following prism and find out what’s right for you:
1. Responsibilities and expectations
In a start-up, middle managers are expected to have everything and do everything. As a jack of all trades, you may need to tackle different tasks simultaneously, contribute across multiple departments, and change roles and responsibilities as needed. An action-oriented, problem-solving approach is what would cloud your work day.
In a large company, things are more stable since you have a well-specialized team working for you. When a new problem arises, those responsible for that particular department will put the pieces of the puzzle together, as you guide through tough expectations and rigid boundaries.
2. Approach and structure
A start-up follows a working model that lacks appropriate processes, systematic operations and structured strategies. Sometimes you can find yourself on thin, warped ice because you have to keep trying until you finally crack the code and make some hard and quick decisions. Although the exhibition is huge with a wide knowledge of the different operations, it could bury you in the mud of vagueness and ambiguity.
In large organizations, a well established, highly specialized and strategic model is implemented where every decision is well designed, reviewed, planned and executed with the help and hard work of various departments. Decision making is more structured, methodical and efficient.
3. Global contribution and impact
Since a manager in a start-up becomes the heart of the business, you are actively involved in developing the project / product roadmap and pave the way for success. Your impact and contribution runs deep because reporting lines are blurry and you have fewer people to convince, which inevitably makes you the sailor of the ship and additionally creates a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
In a large organization, you are a little fish in the ocean. Since you are accountable to the elderly and are bound by strict standards, your overall contribution may be limited to just one part of the overall project / product. Cross-collaboration with other managers and officials could make your importance less apparent and celebrated.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of your position in both configurations:
Benefits of being a middle manager
With abundant space to grow and learn, you’re doomed to evolve like a sharp cookie.
With less bureaucracy / hierarchy, the work atmosphere becomes causal, which promotes effective brainstorming sessions and open communication.
Flexibility allows you to adapt to changes and gain opportunities for innovation.
In a large organization:
More experienced role models and mentors to learn and collaborate with specialist teams with a clear vision, gives good exposure.
Offers stability and certainty in terms of salary and other benefits, as well as a lower chance of being fired unexpectedly.
Having specialized departments performing the tasks assigned to them, regular working hours make your work days predictable and persistent.
You need to find your own direction, seek out mentors / inspirations outside the company, and complete tasks on a limited budget.
Your job can be shrouded in uncertainty due to lack of job security and low wages, along with the constant threat of falling into the ditch due to one small misstep.
The constant urge to change tasks, chew more than you can swallow, and have eyes in all directions makes the working day long and the workload heavy.
In a large company:
Less room for improvement since many workers are working on the same project which makes it difficult for a person to stand out.
The work routine is drowned in strict codes and standards. This could discourage innovation, creative thinking and individual involvement.
Growth is slow and gradual.
Organizations large and small stand at both ends of the bridge, but work in ways that offer endless ideas, values, and opportunities. Which is better, a small or a large organization? The answer is not simple but rather personal. The world is your oyster and it’s up to you to experience it. Only you can decide what matches your values and will help you reach great heights.
The article is written by Abhishek Joshi, the executive coach and development expert