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The underappreciated role of middle managers in the UK

In recent months, as there have been indications of a potential economic downturn, numerous companies have announced layoffs as a means to reduce costs, and middle management has frequently been a common target.

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The Harvard Business review also reports that through their years of advising clients and conducting research on workforce trends, they have observed that this critical organisational layer often experiences significant reductions.

However, making hasty or deep cuts in these positions can prove to be a costly error.

The issue lies in the fact that middle managers, positioned between the frontline and upper management, play a vital role in assisting businesses in navigating through rapid and complex changes. They have the capability to enhance the meaningfulness, interest, and productivity of work, and genuine organisational transformation can only occur with their active participation.

In the corporate landscape of the United Kingdom, much attention is often directed towards the top-level executives and the front-line employees. However, it’s time to shed light on a crucial link in the organisational chain that frequently goes underappreciated: the middle manager.

Middle managers are the unsung heroes who bridge the gap between strategic decisions made at the upper echelons and the practical implementation carried out by front-line staff.

They are the linchpin of organisational success, yet they often find themselves in a challenging position, caught between competing demands and expectations from both above and below.

Here are a few reasons why middle managers deserve more recognition:

  1. Balancing Act: Middle managers are masters of balance. They must align their team’s efforts with the company’s overarching goals while addressing the specific needs and concerns of their subordinates. This equilibrium is not easy to maintain.
  2. Communication Hub: They are the communication hub of an organisation, transmitting vital information from the top down and collecting valuable feedback from the bottom up. Without their effective communication, misalignment and misunderstandings would run rampant.
  3. Problem Solvers: Middle managers often find themselves resolving conflicts, making tough decisions, and adapting to unexpected challenges. Their problem-solving abilities are indispensable in keeping the organisation on course.
  4. Leadership Development: They play a pivotal role in grooming the next generation of leaders. Middle managers are uniquely positioned to mentor and nurture talent, ensuring the continuity of strong leadership within the company.
  5. Innovation Catalysts: Encouraging innovation and new ideas is vital for any organisation’s growth. Middle managers are on the front lines, encouraging creativity and translating innovative ideas into practical strategies.

Despite these critical responsibilities, middle managers in the UK are frequently subjected to undue stress and limited recognition. To truly appreciate their contributions, organisations should consider the following:

– Training and Development: Invest in the professional development of middle managers, helping them hone their skills and adapt to changing demands.

– Clear Expectations: Ensure that middle managers have clear job descriptions and expectations to reduce ambiguity and frustration.

– Recognition and Reward: Acknowledge their hard work and dedication through a formal recognition program, promotions, or bonuses when appropriate.

– Supportive Environment: Foster a culture that values open communication, feedback, and a healthy work-life balance, reducing the pressure on middle managers.

In conclusion, middle managers are the backbone of many UK organisations, providing stability, guidance, and continuity. Recognising their contributions and providing the necessary support will not only improve job satisfaction but also drive organisational success in the long run. It’s high time we appreciate and uplift these unsung heroes in our workplaces.

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 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

Free Demo

We have also produced a FREE ‘Cultivating Compassionate Leadership’ development lesson. Follow the link below to download the video and manual

Compassionate Leadership manual and video

Contact us if you would like to discuss how Change Corp can support you in these challenging times.

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