I took part in an interesting discussion at a recent employee engagement conference in London. The matter in question was what could be done to more effectively engage and involve middle managers?
Many large organisations, resort to using ‘communications champions’ to help the CEO and Board get their messages out to the far flung reaches of the company. These same champions can also provide valuable insight and feedback, bridging the gap between ‘head office’ and the ‘front line’ and cutting out the ‘permafrost’ of the middle management layer.
But hang on a minute… if an organisation feels its middle managers are getting in the way of good communications then bypassing them surely cannot be the right sustainable answer for the long term. Surely the answer must lie in getting the middle managers more involved in the communications process, not marginalising them and not giving them any excuses for abdicating their responsibility to communicate effectively.
I have worked most of my life in very large and complex organisations and we need to understand the pressures that many middle managers face. They are being squeezed from above and below, and often are not given the proper tools or training to be effective communicators and leaders.
Rather than bypass middle managers, the successful organisation will take the time to invest in their future, using tools like the em(ic)* world team brief to help them communicate in an effective and engaging way.
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