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The forgotten middle management

When you think about leadership, which target group do you think about? Top Managers? CEOs and those who want to become one? That is what comes to most people’s minds first. But what about the middle management, e.g. team leaders?

Birgit Karl
Birgit Karl

Middle or lower managers are often younger or new in their role. They have good operational knowledge and very detail-oriented skills. They are well acquainted with the processes and regulations and are still close to the customers. Additionally, they are close to the staff and are aware of the things that concern them most. So, the middle and lower management has very detailed insights on staff and customer needs and could give invaluable advice on high potential optimizations. Very often, however, these managers are underestimated – in their role and in the experience they bring with them.

Overall, they build a precious bridge between customer, staff and the upper management.

So how can companies promote and nurture the skills of their middle and lower managers, for them to make themselves more visible? Beside the knowledge and experience they accumulate, team leaders and the middle management need to master the most essential soft skills in order to be able to fulfil their role. First, they have to find and understand their role as a leader: What does it mean to be leader? Which principles do I want to follow and which principles does the company follow? What does my staff need? Especially in internationally operating companies, they have to start thinking around the corner and in a global context. And they need to start focussing on the surroundings they are working in: What happens in other teams? Does another team need support? How can we solve problems globally? Finally, yet most importantly, they need to have change management skills to handle changes within the team or their work environment efficiently and effectively: How can I change my team? How can I communicate changes? How do I handle resistance against change? How do I include the knowledge of my staff?

New and young executives have great and precious knowledge and they play an important role in the company. Therefore, I strongly encourage everyone to increasingly make use of them and take them seriously. To fulfil their role properly, they need to have and continuously develop soft skills, wherefore the leadership training Stepping into leadership is perfect to start with.

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