The Three Levels of Management

Quick Navigation:

Working in a management role requires an understanding of the different levels of responsibility and the expectations that are enforced at each level. By using their roles efficiently, those in management positions can ensure productivity and help motivate employees to accomplish business objectives. This article defines the three levels at which managers are classified within an organization, why these management tiers are important and the key traits of a successful manager.

What are the levels of management?

Here are the three levels of management within a corporation: 

Top level management

Top level management such as chief financial officers (CFO), board directors, managing directors or chief executive officers (CEO) is the highest tier of management within an organization. Those in this type of management position are tasked with understanding their organization within the larger context of its industry and making adjustments to their business strategy in accordance with industry changes.

Middle management

This is considered to be the second-most tier of management within an organization. Middle management can be classified as those individuals who work as department managers or branch managers. They can have a unique role in that they are responsible for coordinating with those in top level management positions and relaying important policies and information to lower level management to be further disseminated to company employees.

Lower level management

This is the third-most tier of management within an organization. Lower level management consists of positions such as foremen, superintendents, supervisors or section officers. They are responsible for communicating with those in middle management positions and can be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a particular branch or department of a larger organization.

Why is management important?

Here are some ways that good management practices are important for successful company operations:

 Aids cost reduction

Good management practices that are implicated at each level of an organization can lead to an increase in company revenue. This can be done through managers using their best judgment and knowledge of business methods to determine deadlines, resources and manpower necessary to complete an objective. For this reason, managers can be instrumental in aiding cost reductions within their company.

Encourages group goal achievement

Managers can encourage the achievement of branch- or department-level goals by defining clear business objectives set in place by upper-management, and organizing them into reasonable tasks and deadlines for their employees. In doing this, managers can potentially help the company achieve its more broad goals.

Structures resource allocation

Another area where managers are instrumental in successful business practices is in their ability to adequately allocate resources to maximize productivity. These ‘resources’ can include employees, information sources or equipment. A good manager can identify a talented group of individuals within their company and bring them together with the right tools to enhance the company and its overarching goals.

Influences functional society

A manger’s effectiveness within the workplace can influence the larger society within which their company operates. Using smart managerial practices can promote the overall function of a company and in doing so, increase economic prosperity, the amount of a product or service that is produced to benefit society and provide more job opportunities for job seekers.

Key traits of top level management

Here are some key traits that might be expected of someone in a top level management position:

Forward-thinking focus

Someone in a top level management position should have a focus that is directed on the future. This could influence the future success of the company.

Ability to make difficult decisions

A top level manager might be tasked with making difficult decisions such as closing a branch or downsizing and should be able to consider their options.

Expert knowledge of their industry

Top level managers should have in-depth knowledge of the industry in which their company operates. Their ability to identify possible industry changes and compare it to present company practices could potentially help their company evolve with the industry.

Superb communication skills

In an executive role, a top level manager should have superb communication skills as they can act as a spokesperson for the company and should be able to relay information to other officials and middle managers about changes in the company’s business strategy or policies.


Examples of important keywords for top level management:

  • Delegation
  • Change management
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Forward-thinking

Key traits of middle management

Here are a number of desirable traits for someone in a middle management position:

Ability to relay information

A middle manager should be able to receive information from upper or lower management and relay that information accurately to the desired party. They could also act as the mediator between lower management complaints and upper management.

Superb interpersonal skills 

As a middle manager has to communicate with top executives and lower-level managers, they should be able to identify the right methods of communication to successfully coordinate between the two.

Ability to analyze overall branch performance 

Middle managers might be expected to evaluate sales reports and other documents of a particular branch to determine the productivity and usefulness of a particular sector of the company.

Task delegation 

A middle manager should be able to determine how to divide up tasks assigned by top level management among lower level management and their employees for maximum productivity.


Examples of important keywords for middle management:

  • Mediator 
  • Information relay 
  • Task delegation 
  • Mentorship 
  • Performance analysis

Key traits of lower level management

Here are some desirable traits that someone in a lower level management position might be expected to have:

Ability to identify and hire qualified candidates 

Lower level management might be expected to hire and train new employees at their operational level. Those in these supervisory roles should be able to guide new employees through their onboarding process to become a beneficial part of company procedures.

Ability to give constructive feedback

Lower level managers might have to conduct performance evaluations of each individual employee. They should be able to provide constructive feedback on an employee’s work performance to help them improve.

Advocate for employee needs

As lower level managers can be in direct contact with their employees, they might be expected to relay questions or complaints from employees to middle management for further questioning.

Industry-related technical skills

Depending on the industry, those in lower level management positions might be expected to carry out tasks that require industry-related technical skills such as operating machinery, report writing or data entry.


Examples of important keywords for lower level management:

  • Employee advocate 
  • Hiring
  • Feedback
  • Technical skills
  • Implementation