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Editor’s note: Second in a two-part series on developing middle managers.

To be an effective middle manager, an employee should possess and exhibit certain attributes, including respect for you as the owner or general manager. An effective supervisor also must possess experience and intelligence, as well as good communication and organizational skills.

According to Tom Fuhrmann, veterinarian and owner of DairyWorks, you can gauge an employee’s readiness for middle management if he…

  • Comes to you when something is wrong with the cows, equipment or other employees.
  • Gives you honest feedback about other workers when asked, and you feel he has your best interests in mind.
  • Recognizes you as the boss and wants to do what you direct.
  • Talks to fellow workers about what is the right thing to do in most situations.
  • Solves problems on his own when necessary.
  • Stays focused on his work.
  • Starts the job when someone is late or absent and looks for a relief worker to take over if you are unavailable to do so.
  • Takes charge when something goes wrong.
  • Handles issues without becoming frustrated.
  • Listens to you and then talks to others.
  • Does what you ask and verifies that he understands what you want done.

How someone interacts with his peers also can help you determine if he is ready for a supervisory role on your operation. Look for these signs:

  • Other employees come to him for guidance and direction.
  • You see that other workers ask his opinion and do as he does.
  • The employee takes initiative to explain “what the owner wants” to others.
  • He doesn’t complain and stays till the work is done, leading others to do the same.
  • Others depend upon this employee to make decisions, determine a strategy and then follow his direction automatically.
  • The employee is amiable with other workers, but is serious when necessary.
  • He listens to others to understand their concerns without premature judgment.
  • Others listen to him for clarification, and they like him because he is sincere.


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