There are four basic target audiences within any organization's management structure:
Individual Contributors (Employees)
Those who actually do the work also actually manage. They manage themselves and they manage each other. They actually process information that affects the level of performance more than anyone else in the organization. Self-management skills for all employees - especially professional employees - should be part of any management development program. Are they clear about expected outputs and priorities? Do they have reliable, informal and continuous ways of monitoring their own outcomes while performing the work? Do they have access to the resources (materials, machines, information, authority) necessary to meet their output expectations? These are the most fundamental issues of management - actually the focus and foundation for all other managers at higher levels in the hierarchy.
First Line Managers (Supervisors)
Managing work through others is a fundamentally different set of skills than being a star worker. The basics of task analysis, establishment of short term performance expectations, provision of performance coaching, listening for individual and group problems, conducting work preview meetings, assuring fairness in work assignments and administering the basic HR policies of the organization are among the skills required. Almost all productivity, morale, labor and turnover problems have their source in the relationship between employees and first line managers. Furthermore, most of the future source of managers for the organization will need to come from this level. It is important to get management at this level right.
These are managers who manager other managers. There are often more than one level of middle managers within the organization's structure, and their needs will be different. This is the level most responsible for cross-functional coordination of the organization's performance. They are the creators of the systems by which supervisors manage the work. Goal setting, work preview, group decision-making and cross-functional leadership are the key skills required.
These are the highly experienced representatives of the organization who will interface with the business environment. They will articulate the organization's vision and values and authorize its strategies. They will direct middle management in the design and implementation of new organizational systems. They will bear the fiscal, legal, and ethical responsibilities for the performance of the organization.They will have to have both an internal and external reputation for integrity and competence. Performance of these functions requires years of preparation, usually within the same organization or industry. They must be both the result and the source of the organization's culture.