In the face of these profound shifts, middle managers will assume a critical role
Regrettably, the term “middle” suggests that the individual in this position is merely passing through on their way to higher roles, ideally reaching the top.
However, McKinsey argue that middle management should not merely be seen as a transitional phase but can actually be a final destination in itself.
An organisation’s effective functioning relies on the middle managers’ ability to connect and integrate people and tasks.
According to their recent McKinsey Quarterly article, these middle managers should be recognised as the central pillars of an organisation, and as such, the most competent ones might be best suited to remain in their current positions. They serve as the essential core of a thriving talent ecosystem, and their performance is crucial for success.
With the rapidly evolving nature of work, middle managers will become even more critical in the future. Unfortunately, many companies fail to harness their potential effectively.
Every day, middle managers in various industries encounter a range of challenges: limited time, inadequate resources, insufficient recognition, and a lack of empowerment to fulfill one of the most vital functions—arguably the most critical function—within an organisation: talent management.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) quarterly Employee Outlook survey, nearly half of the middle managers in the United Kingdom state that they experience excessive pressure on a weekly basis. The survey involved 2,000 middle managers.
Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, explained that middle managers often find themselves in a challenging position, torn between fulfilling strategic objectives and handling line managers who are under pressure. Additionally, he emphasized the significant role these managers play in managing change, converting senior managers’ objectives into actionable plans, and inspiring their teams.
Presently, organisations are confronted with a convergence of challenges, including automation, hybrid work arrangements, economic downturn and a shortage of skilled workers.
However, the current reality indicates that many middle managers are ill-prepared to tackle these challenges. The obstacles they confront are formidable, and in discussions with middle managers, several common themes have emerged:
• Numerous middle managers expressed a sense of responsibility for shielding their teams from misguided decisions made by higher-ranking executives. They even recounted instances where they had to protect their employees from toxic leaders within the hierarchy. A common complaint revolved around senior leaders lacking a deep understanding of tasks or strategies and frequently demanding the impossible.
• Middle managers fully grasp the significance of training, both for their team members and themselves. However, they often encounter difficulties in obtaining support and budget from senior executives who prioritise short-term financial gains.
• Trust emerged as a recurring theme in the discussions among middle managers. They desire the confidence of their superiors to execute tasks and bring about changes in their own way, which, in turn, helps them earn the trust of their teams. Regrettably, they frequently feel that this trust is lacking from higher management.
• Although some middle managers would prefer to remain in their current roles, they find themselves compelled to seek alternative positions due to the absence of proper reward systems such as fair compensation, equity, bonuses, and promotional opportunities within their organisations to facilitate their growth.
• Holding their managerial positions comes with a substantial psychological burden that affects both their work and personal lives.
The timing is opportune to focus on managers due to the rapid and transformative changes occurring in the nature of work.
These changes demand a new set of people skills.
While advanced technology has made workplace communication easier, it has also brought about an abundance of communication that is more complex and confusing than ever before. Automation is reshaping the landscape of tasks, rendering some jobs obsolete. Additionally, the surge in remote work, accelerated by the pandemic, has resulted in a weakening of the bonds that traditionally united employees.
In the face of these profound shifts, middle managers will assume a critical role. They will act as intermediaries and interpreters between the executive leadership and the front-line workers. Redefining and restructuring job roles will be essential as large groups of employees transition to new positions. Moreover, they will play a key role in reestablishing the human connections that technology and the pandemic have disrupted.
We at Change Corp, have long recognised the vital role that middle managers play in any organisation, which is why we have developed an innovative online development programme for Team Leaders in new and evolving environments.
Our Team Leaders for the future programme will take your Team Leaders on a development journey and learn essential skills and behaviours designed for the post Covid-19 world. Our clients are finding this programme is very flexible as Team Leaders can take it at their own pace or you can put a cohort together to support each other through the programme.
We are offering a 50% discount to any organisation wanting to purchase an organisation-wide license to access our online, multi-media materials.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a demo and get a quote.
Change Corp is skilled in implementing intervention that focus on team development for a new future, and which can directly address the content and delivery of learning for team leaders. For more information on our Team Leaders for the future programme book a demo in the link below
We have also produced a FREE ‘Cultivating Compassionate Leadership’ development lesson. Follow the link below to download the video and manual
Contact us if you would like to discuss how Change Corp can support you in these challenging times.