executive cocaching

How to empower middle-managers to work more effectively

empower middle managers executive coaching

Middle management is such an important part of organizational leadership. People in middle management have been working their way up to a leadership position for a long time. They are usually appreciative of the opportunity to prove themselves and are still connected to other employees. They remember what it was like to be part of the non-management workforce. 

The poor reputation that accompanies middle management makes it easy to forget the pressures middle managers face and the value they bring. They’re typically the first people to go when a business needs to cut back because their worth is often miscalculated. Anyone who has worked with a good middle manager can testify to that. 

Perhaps you’re worried about your middle managers and want to optimize their efforts and effectiveness, or maybe they are drained or directionless and therefore underperforming. Whatever the reason you’re here, this article will help you encourage your middle managers and bring out their best

Make sure they feel empowered

Middle managers can often feel stifled. They’re stuck between the workforce and senior management. They’re often filling big shoes (potentially yours). They might feel like they have to do things the way they have always been done, giving them little room to grow and innovate. 

If you’re not empowering them to lead and bring change, then you are not utilising the 360-degree overview they have of your company, and you’re undermining the reasons they were elevated to their current position in the first place.

Dr. John Behr, executive psychologist with more than 25 years’ experience says:

“If you want your middle managers to work more effectively then you must enable them to exercise their position. Set them free and give them the opportunity to suggest and drive change. You’ll be surprised by the results.”


Communication should be a huge part of your day-to-day job anyway, but you should be making a concerted effort to communicate with your middle-managers. 

In this survey, 91% of 1,000 employees said that their boss lacks communication skills. Isn’t that crazy, considering we emphasise communication skills in most job descriptions while recruiting? 

As senior leaders, we should be especially mindful we are modelling good communication, both for morale and efficiency. We’re busy. There are so many other things we could be doing. But communicating with your middle management teams, especially during these ambiguous times, has never been more important. 

Communicate authentically with your employees. Express genuine interest in how they’re feeling and what they are thinking. You’ll not only make them feel appreciated and listened to, you’ll also get great insights into how things are progressing within your company. 

An open dialogue between senior and middle management is empowering. Your middle managers will know that they are needed and appreciated by you, and that their conversations with you really are changing the company. 

Acknowledge the difficulties of the pandemic

A recent survey determined that middle managers have found the pandemic particularly challenging. They report feeling 46% less satisfied with their jobs than senior executives, struggling to maintain their sense of belonging. Survey results show they also feel more stressed and less productive than colleagues in more senior positions. 

You might think these issues will disappear now that the pandemic is over, but the consequences of COVID-19 may linger and evolve indefinitely. Many middle managers will continue to work from home, as will their colleagues. It is really important that you acknowledge the huge change your middle managers have gone through and offer them the support they need to work. 


Act as a role model

If you want your middle management teams to be proactive and hardworking, you need to lead by example. Don’t forget that there is probably at least one person somewhere in your organization who is watching you and learning from the way you act.

This isn’t about theatrics: working sixteen hours a day and refusing holidays. It’s about openly working hard, and displaying your passion for your organization so that middle management can see it. 

It’s a great idea to let your middle management teams see you owning your strengths, admitting your weaknesses, and working towards your own personal and professional development. Showing your employees that you recognize that there is room for improvement will help them honestly examine their own flaws and seek help correcting them. 

John Behr Group can help with this. This unique approach to coaching will help you be completely candid about where you need help. Together, we’ll explore your personal strengths and limitations, yielding new mind-sets and approaches that improve your effectiveness and help you encourage and empower your middle managers as a result.

We’d love to help you develop yourself and your workforce.

If you are ready to speak to us, please fill in the contact form on our website.