09 Jan Middle Management Are More Aligned with the Front Line Employees

Middle management is the meat in the sandwich in every business.  Middle management has to deal with the demands and the expectations of the executive, and middle management has to deal with the reality faced in operations, with customers and stakeholders. So while the executive can hope that people are on board with a strategic initiative, middle management has to deal with the fact that they are not.

It is appropriate to expect that middle management will stand up and take a leadership position on difficult issues and that they will not speak in disparaging terms about the company or the executive. However, it is not reasonable to expect middle management to defend the indefensible.  It is surprisingly common to hear a manager raise a concern to a VP about how broken a business process or new initiative is, only to be told by the executive “yeah, I hate it too”.

In organizations where the relationship between executives and middle management is less than healthy, an intervention involves working with middle management to be more effective in standing up and acting like leaders.  A parallel coaching focus is often to improve the credibility of the executive team through improved communication practices, interaction with subordinate levels and taking appropriate action to address the technical and process improvement required for the business to function properly.