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A Complete Overview of The Levels of Management

When you are a member of management in an organization, chances are that you will be on a specific level. Management levels within an organization exist to demarcate different roles within the organization or company, and to help establish a chain of command. Understanding the different levels of management is important if you are to be an effective manager, and accomplish your role in the organization.

Broadly, there are three main levels of management. You can think of the levels as a triangle, or pyramid. At the top level, there are fewer people, but they have more say in the overall direction of the company — they have more authority. This level is often called the administrative level. At the second level of management, you have those who have some authority over certain departments or projects. This is called the executory level, since those who populate it are involved in executing so that the aims of the organization are met. Finally, at the bottom of the pyramid, is the supervisory level. These are managers that have more direct contact with workers, and are mainly involved in encouraging performance, and monitoring employees. Below, you will find more information about the different levels of management:

Top Level: Administrative

The top level of management in most organizations is the ultimate authority. Administrative level managers can give authority to other managers in the organization, delegating to, or directly promoting, other managers. The top level of management consists of boards of directors, top officers in the company, and directors in the company. Some of the functions of those at the top level of management include:

  • Setting out the goals, benchmarks and big picture for the organization.
  • Prepares policies for the organization, and sets forth consequences for their violation.
  • Promotes and appoints others to fulfill various roles in the company.
  • Coordinates activities for the whole organization, making sure that different departments are working in tandem to reach the organization’s goals.
  • Usually in charge of making public statements on behalf of the organization, as well as making appearances so that the community is aware of what the company is doing.
  • Directs broad changes in company direction.
  • Shows accountability to shareholders and other stakeholders in the company.
  • Ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the organization and its enterprises.

Those in the top level of management are often well-compensated for their efforts, due to the fact that, in theory, they have great responsibilities. It can be difficult to make it to the top level of management, since those positions are often scarce, and the competition for them is fierce. However, with hard work, good ideas, competence, and an ability to network, it is possible to reach the top level of management.

Middle Level: Executory

Depending on the size of the company or organization, middle management can be bigger or smaller. In some of the smaller organizations, the functions of the middle level and lower level of management are combined. However, in larger organizations, middle level management often requires additional divisions into senior and junior levels.

At this level, managers are in charge of branches or departments. Their job is to come up with sub-plans that contribute to the success of the company when meeting its goals. Middle managers are often involved in making sure that the steps to achieving the larger aims of the company are carried out. Some of the other duties that those at the executory level of management might be required to carry out include:

  • Training lower management, and training employees.
  • Coming up with incentives for employees and lower level managers.
  • Coordinating projects within the departments and branches.
  • Evaluating employee and lower manager performance.
  • At more senior positions in middle management, sometimes it is necessary to interact with the public, or issue statements.
  • Report to members of the top level of management. This might include in-person reports, or written reports and memos.
  • Enforce policies handed down from top management, and sometimes discipline lower level managers, or employees.

Many middle managers make good salaries, and have a certain degree of autonomy within the organization, as long as the desired results are being achieved. Depending on the organization, there is a good chance at advancement in the middle level of management, and distinguishing yourself can be a great way to move on to the top level, if that is your aim.

Lower Level: Supervisory

At the bottom level of the management pyramid is the supervisory level of management. Sometimes, this level is also referred to as the operative level. Managers that you hear referred to as “first line” fall into this category. Supervisory managers take direction from middle management, and then directly monitor employees. They report to members of the middle level of management, and are directly responsible for making sure certain tasks are accomplished as specified, and completed in a timely manner. Some of the other assignments that lower level managers might have include:

  • Monitor performance directly, and administer incentives or discipline as needed.
  • Encourage workers, and take responsibility for the quantity of quality of the products and services that the organization produces.
  • Interact with customers and attempt to resolve complaints. Operative managers are often charged with customer satisfaction, and given flexibility in certain ways to solve problems, although sometimes it is necessary to send the problem higher up the chain of command.
  • Mediate between employees.
  • Assign duties and tasks to specific employees, or teams of employees.
  • Provide training to workers.
  • Make sure that employees have the tools and materials they need to accomplish their tasks.
  • Act as a line of communication between the employees in an organization and upper levels of management.

Many managers start out in a supervisory role. Those who fulfill their responsibilities well, and engage the respect of their subordinates are more likely to be noticed and promoted. Depending on where you start, you might find that some of the duties of middle managers are accomplished by supervisory managers.

Specific levels of management vary according to each organization’s needs. However, you can usually determine which level you most closely identify with by learning more about the different duties and responsibilities involved at each level.

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