Developing Middle Managers

Caught in the Middle, a new article by Wharton School of Business captures the dilemma of middle managers quite starkly. When they do their job well, they co-ordinate the needs and efforts of many people spread across the organisation and often have no visibility from senior leaders. They are accountable for execution of strategy, yet are squeezed from above and below and are often the subject of retrenchments because their value is not visible until too late.

One way to support middle managers is with development programs that cater to their needs for respect, recognition and reinforcement, but beware offering them training – experienced people hate the thought of going to training. So what’s working in the world of middle manager development?

Forums – give the middle managers the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with their peers and executives. Make sure the managers themselves contribute to the topics and clarify whether the purpose is to discuss and understand vs. to set action plans. Too much setting of action plans just looks like more work for middle managers.

Read on to find out about: Games and simulations, study tours, arts-based processes, and futurists and founders.


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