In 2024 I’ve been exploring how employees can lead change from the bottom up.  What does it take to drive success?

One theme that has come up consistently is the need to have a supportive environment.  Who creates that for front line employees?  It’s the layer that is often described as middle (or people) managers.

How can we, and do we nurture and strengthen our managers ?  Nine practical tips were identified :

1.     Involve managers in organisational strategy.  Help them understand the vision and involve them in defining the journey.
2.    Provide customised career pathways.
3.    Support managers with tools and training.
4.    Create management best practice forums.
5.    Role model great people management
6.    Set and manage expectations for people managers.
7.     Set up workable organizational structures.
8.    Expect that people managers spend more time managing their teams.
9.    Clarify decision making, involvement and ownership.

If these ideas are adopted our organizations will grow strong and be increasingly effective.  Middle managers themselves will be engaged and they in turn will engage the broader team and provide the conduits and connections essential for unified and agile organisations.

If you are Leading Change, then having this powerful group of people managers is critical.

Thanks to: Jackie Macritchie, Dianne Lee, Jonathan Betts, Amina Yesufu-Udechuku Elisabeth (Liz) Mortimer-Cassen Sara Vandenberghe as their insights led to this article and to Larraine Solomon, Mike Mair and Susan Childs for additional input.