Inbox : Mid-levels under fire

We need to focus more on mid-level leaders, new study by Development Dimensions International (DDI) has shown.
In today’s world, middle managers are more like general managers of the past. They are shock absorbers of pressures exerted from many sources – senior leaders, their peers, their teams. It’s stressful and creates risk of disengagement.
However, the DDI meta study of current literature and research has shown that very often mid-level leaders lack the confidence and training needed to execute on the business drivers of their organisations. Research shows that only 27 percent of mid-level leaders rate themselves as “very effective”.
To drive performance in changing world, with fewer resources, where we are fighting relevance in changing markets, there’s no margin for error, says Christien Winter, director of Sheffield, DDI’s exclusive licensee in New Zealand.
She says today’s mid-level leaders must execute flawlessly, while successfully managing constant change. “Effectively addressing the issues at mid-level is critical to organisational continuity, through the ‘next generation’ of leadership talent,” Winter says.
The study shows mid-level leaders are at the mercy of many influences that put them inside pressure cooker. As key leaders in the drive to execute strategy, they are challenged to make decisions with trade-offs on cost, quality and efficiency, find ways to motivate and retain their teams through hard times, and influence range of stakeholders to execute strategy – all in an environment of constant change.
It’s time the development needs of middle management were assessed and addressed, says Winter.

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