Levels of Management: Every Rung Along the Corporate Ladder

levels of managementTypically, three levels of management are found in any organization: top level, middle level, and low level. Managers at the top level are responsible for overseeing and controlling the entire organization. Managers in the middle level are responsible for the execution of the organization’s plans which comply with the policies of the company. The managers on the low level are focused on directing and controlling. They serve as employees’ role models and are supervisors.

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Top Level of Management

The top level management consists of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Board of Directors (BOD). The representatives of the shareholders are the Board of Directors in a public company. Typically, the organization’s Board of Directors select the Chief Executive Officer, though in private companies, the CEO might be the owner or selected by the owner. In larger companies, other members of a “c-suite” may also make up the top level of management. This includes the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Top level management has a few main roles. This management level has maximum responsibility and authority. The organization’s failure or success depends largely on their decision making and efficiency. As a general rule, this level of management requires less technical and more conceptual skills.

They prepare the organization’s long term plans which are made generally for between five and twenty years. Thus, they are sometimes referred to as the brains of the organization or the administrators. This level assembles or mobilizes available resources, and must have strong delegation skills.

Executives at this level make decisions about what products to manufacture or launch and how to handle a major crisis. They develop budgets, decide on acquisitions, create the company’s corporate vision, and identify competitors.

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Middle Level of Management

The middle management levels consist of the junior executives, the branch managers, and the department heads (HOD). Top level management interview and hire for middle level management positions.

This management level requires more technical and managerial skills and fewer skills that are conceptual. It is also at this level that there is limited responsibility and authority. They are the intermediary between the lower and the top management. They are responsible directly to the board of directors and the chief executive officer. For their departments, they prepare plans for the short term which are made generally for the next one to five years.

Managers at this level spend a lot of time communicating and coordinating, as they often serve as the middleman between low level managers and top level executives.  They address concerns set forth by low level managers and execute the plans and policies which are made by top level managerss.

Management at this level gives advice or recommendations to the top management levels.  You can find out more about management by taking this course which helps you successfully plan, manage and evaluate marketing projects of any difficulty or size.

Middle management makes decisions about how the short term goals of the company should be met, how to oversee the regional market and how to handle tactical decisions. These might include determining which issues need to be addressed along with managers at the top level. Communicating and managing lower management and making decisions about marketing a new product. Here is an article you might want to check out entitled Importance of Management: How to Get the Best Out of Your People.

Lower Level of Management

The lower management level consists of the supervisors and assistant managers. The middle management level selects them in most cases, though top level executives may also be involved with hiring decisions. This level is also called the first line of management or the supervisory or operative level. This management level has important responsibilities of getting the work done from the workers, but has limited authority. They are directly responsible to the middle management level and regularly report to them.

This level requires more communication and technical skills along with basic management skills and experience. The managers at this level make monthly, weekly and daily plans. They spend more time controlling and directing and are also responsible for informing each worker about the decisions made by the management. They also inform the middle management about the demands, feelings and difficulties of the workers. They maintain a link between the middle level management and the workers. They also develop worker’s morale and direct the employees or the workers.

When a manager only hears or sees what they want to, this is where common mistakes are made in terms of decision making in lower management. This fact is according to the US Small Business Administration. Decisions of operation are handled by lower level management which affect daily tasks. It is at this level where there should be an identification of what impact decisions made will have on others and themselves.

Team leaders or supervisors might decide on issues related to employees such as termination, discipline, hiring, promotions, overtime, raises, evaluations, training and pay rates. At this level, supervisors might decide to reward employees who are most productive with an award such as ‘employee of the month’ or offer gift certificates, movie tickets or other incentives.

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