There are three levels of management in the organizational hierarchy: the top or strategic level, the middle or tactical level, and the lower or operational level. Strategic level managers are responsible for setting organizational goals. Tactical level managers are dedicated to carrying out their objectives. Finally, operational level managers are responsible for executing each organizational work unit.
From this perspective, an organizational management triangle is formed within the organizational hierarchy. Each level has a different set of jobs and responsibilities, but all aim to achieve a goal or objective.
Managers in strategic management, also known as top executives or leaders, represent the organization’s leaders who are established at the high-level management to outline goals and objectives to be executed through the two subsequent levels.
These positions are found at one or two top levels in an organization and have titles such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Board Chairman, President, Vice President, and Corporate Head.
Strategic level managers make decisions that affect the entire company. Top executives do not direct the company’s daily activities but instead establish objectives for the organization and guide the company to feasibly achieve them.
Top executives are primarily responsible for the organization’s performance and often hold leadership positions. Strategic level managers require excellent conceptual and decision-making skills to lead the business management on the path to success.
Middle-level or intermediate managers at the tactical level are those hierarchical positions located one step below the strategic level managers. Tactical level manager job titles include general manager, plant manager, regional manager, and division manager.
Tactical level managers are responsible for carrying out the goals set by top management. They execute this by setting objectives for their departments and other relevant business units. Middle managers monitor, motivate, and assist front-line managers in achieving business objectives in the best possible way.
Middle managers also communicate with top management to offer suggestions and feedback that could provide a parallel view of the objectives towards which the company is headed. Additionally, because intermediate managers are more involved in the daily operations of a company, they can provide valuable information to strategic level managers to collaborate in improving the organization’s outcomes.
The perfection of middle-level managers’ work largely depends on their communication and interpersonal skills, both towards strategic level leaders and operational level managers.
Operational level managers are also known as front-line managers, store-level managers, or supervisors. These managers have job titles such as office manager, shift supervisor, department manager, foreman, team leader, and store manager, among others.
Front-line managers are responsible for the daily management of line workers: the collaborators who develop the product or provide the service. There are front-line managers in every work unit of the organization. These are the managers with whom most workers interact daily, and if managers perform poorly, collaborators may also exhibit equally poor performance, lack motivation, or leave the company for various reasons.
Although first-level managers generally do not set goals for the organization, they exert a powerful influence on the company. A first-level manager requires skills and technical knowledge for the particular job they oversee and must, therefore, know how to teach their team the best way to exploit their skills using minimal resources.
The organizational triangle consists of three fundamental levels or pillars: strategic, tactical, and operational. Strategic level managers are responsible for setting goals, creating plans, and overseeing the entire organization.
Tactical level managers are dedicated to directing the organization’s activities to achieve the goals set by top management. Operational level managers lead all work units of the organization (processes and projects) and carry out essential tasks. They are the foot soldiers of the company.