Middle Managers have the impact and influence within the organisation to account for 22.3% variance in revenue, according to Associate Professor Ethan Mollick at Wharton School.

Middle managers are critical for driving business success.

Middle managers are the glue, connectors, the conduit for an organisation’s success. The performance and productivity of frontline employees are directly influenced by middle managers. Senior leaders can rely on their middle managers to keep them up to date on what’s working, what’s not, as well the opportunities they can cease and leverage.

Forbes believes middle managers are the key to any company’s financial success, stating that middle management “binds purpose and execution.”

Pre-COVID-19, the Future of Work Skills 2020 identified that essential skills for success were behavioural inter-related with new technical. Sense-making, social intelligence, novel and adaptive thinking, cross-cultural competency, and collaboration being the skills of successful leaders.

COVID-19 has shown all of us that the skills of the future are behavioural rather than technical. We call them soft skills but there’s nothing soft about them. Middle Managers will excel in their leadership when they continuously develop their soft skills.

The senior executives may set the direction but middle managers influence the success of how that direction is implemented and executed. Profitability, employee retention and satisfaction, and company culture all rely on the power of the middle managers.

Having worked with thousands of managers across the world, what they consistently share with me is:

“I really want my team to do well, I just don’t know how to engage them.”

“I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, I try to be clear with my expectations but sometimes it all goes wrong.”

“I don’t seem to get a seat at the table to share my ideas.”

“Maybe I’m just not cut out for leading others.”

“I want to be seen as a good leader by my team and my boss.”

“It’s hard to lead a team when I all do is go to meetings, meetings, meetings!”

“I want to delegate but I don’t know where to start or what I can delegate.”

“I have a never ending ToDo list that I struggle to get through.”

‘It’s exhausting trying to drive everyone’s productivity.”

“I avoid feedback conversations as I don’t want to be accused of bullying or have to deal with stalling tactics.”

“The team are now a mix of remote and face to face and leading this way is a whole new challenge.”

Do any of these resonate with you?

When I was in middle management some of them did resonate with me. This is why I’m passionate about helping move and improve middle managers through presentations, workshops and coaching; and is the driving force for creating and hosting the Middle Managers Online Muster!

Types of Managers

The level of success of a middle manager can be identified by the obstacles faced, and what is focused on in order to overcome those obstacles…

Autocratic managers will be driven by overconfidence, even arrogance, relying solely on their own expertise to make decisions and direct the work. Their success as a manager is dire as the team will quickly move on. When this type of manager actively listens to others views and acknowledges there is expertise all around them their world view and perspective widens for the benefit of all, the work and the bottom line.

Micromanagers lack trust in themselves, the organisation and others. When they focus on building strong solid relationships they will have more confidence in others and will ease off their controlling ways.

Loners are the managers who prefer to work alone, believing they thrive when they work autonomously, however they have a responsibility to their team. When the lone manager learns to collaborate they’ll find value in the cooperation and support they and the whole team will experience.

Participative managers are often democratic and consultative in nature. The team will feel engaged however when speed is of the essence, decisions will need to be made when time does not allow for consultation. When this manager can confidently decide they become more agile and able to pivot quickly when required.

Visionary managers, are often considered strategic, they can interpret the vision effectively for the team however they may not involve themselves enough in the day to day so when change is necessary or opportunities arises they will need to invest far more time and effort in inspiring the change, reaching the team at the heart of things, so that they can get the engagement needed for the change or opportunity to be successful.


Which type of middle manager are you?

Successful middle managers will take responsibility for their ongoing development. 

The Middle Management Leadership Development Program is the perfect avenue for you to upskill, learn and grow. Click here.