In the last 12 years that I’ve been supporting businesses and organizations to grow, I’ve seen founders and senior executives make one mistake over, and over again:
They don’t invest enough in optimizing their middle managers.
Middle managers, including supervisors and team leaders, are the pillars that hold an organization intact. They’re the fundamental links between your organization’s strategy and its execution.
When I think of middle managers in their role, I’m reminded of the story of two truck drivers:
There was an older, more experienced truck driver who had been all over the country in his career. One day, he had to train a new, much younger, inexperienced driver.
The old one allowed the younger one to drive for a while. The young one drove the big 18-wheeler for about five hours and became very tired and asked the trainer to take over for a spell.
The trainer drove for 10 hours and was not even tired.
The young man was flabbergasted and asked the old man how he could drive for hours on end and not get tired.
The old man asked him, “What do you do in the morning just before you leave your house?”
The young man replied, “I kiss my wife goodbye and tell her I am going to work.”
The old one said, “That is your problem.”
“What do you mean, ‘problem’?”
The old man said, “When I leave in the morning, I kiss my wife goodbye, but I don’t tell her I am going to work. I tell her I am going for a drive in the country.”
Everything is a matter of attitude.
Why am I telling you this story? Simple…
I’m telling you the story because it holds the key to why your competitors may be outperforming you by a factor of 10 or more.
You see, while every business needs a great strategy, the success of a business does not lie in the existence of a strategy.
The success of every business lies in the proper execution of strategy.
It is the conscious and appropriate implementation of the actions outlined in the strategy that actually creates the desired success
As the CEO of your organization, your focus is on the high-level activities, you need the lower-level staff to be equipped and empowered to take those day-to-day actions in a way that supports the vision of the organization.
How do you ensure that your lower-level staff is on top of their games?
By having high-performing Middle managers who maintain a culture of excitement and excellence in their departments.
Over the last 17+ years of working with thousands of professionals, leaders, and executives, I can tell you on authority that creating and maintaining a culture where people are excited to come to work in the morning leads to high-performance levels.
When employees are excited to come to work in the morning, they become part of the business as opposed to simply working for the business. This means that they get more done often in less time. They treat customers like royalty, and they are more proactive in their assigned roles.
As the CEO, you may champion the creation of such a culture; but it is your middle managers who must maintain the culture if the organization is to be a market leader.
The question though, is, are your middle managers up to the task?
Middle managers are the engine of any business.
They are the cogs that make things work. Think of them as the glue that keeps companies together.
Middle managers build relationships with top management and with the lower levels.
The most effective middle managers have developed exceptional skills to mediate and find common grounds between actors at different levels in the organization.
But their role is challenging, however, because it requires being both a proactive leader to direct reports and an engaged follower to the top management, all at the same time.
Most leadership development and training programs fail to capture this complex double act; they focus on teaching leadership skills so managers can influence direct reports but ignore the development of their upward influence skills.
Maintaining a culture of excellence and high performance requires the middle managers to be equipped and empowered to apply certain relevant skillsets:
- Situational Leadership
- Coaching & Mentoring Skills
- Managing Change
- New Manager/ Supervisor Development
- Employee Motivation & Team Building
- Influencing Upwards
- Maintaining Corporate Culture
- Virtual Team Building & Management
- Emotional Intelligence
As a Certified Executive Coach & Business Strategist, I’d like to partner with you to ensure your middle managers a top-notch, which translates into increased productivity and by extension, profitability.
If you know there’s room for improved performance in your organization, I’d like to offer you a 1-hour complimentary consultation so we together explore what that improvement in performance really means for you, and then create a strategy to help you get there.