Who’s steering that great corporation over there? Well, the CEO, of course. And that amazing Board of Directors. They are, indeed. But look closer and you’ll see they’re not alone.
On a recent episode of “The Better Life/Better Business Podcast”, leadership speaker and former Motorola executive, Ron Minatrea, shined the spotlight on an army of often-overlooked, but intrinsically important, people who motivate a company’s employees to row in unison on a day-to-day basis. Without their ability to bridge the gap between the upper echelons of management and a company’s employees, the corporate ship will sail nowhere fast. Who are these unsung heroes?
These are the people Ron calls Middle Leaders. And not only do they rarely get the credit they deserve, but they also rarely get the help they need. That’s because much business and leadership advice isn’t tailored to the unique challenges they face.
That’s where Ron comes in. Having spent time as a Middle Leader himself, he joined Shawn Ellis, founder of The Speakers Group, to offer some insight into how corporations can better support their middle management, while also guiding Middle Leaders on what they can do themselves to be more effective at their jobs.
For starters, Ron says it’s important that we understand three main issues Middle Leaders grapple with:
1. Responsible for everything, with control over little.
If you are in a middle-management position, you can probably relate to the difficult situation in which Middle Leaders find themselves. While not being charged with setting the direction of the company, Middle Leaders are still expected to deliver results. They have to mobilize their teams to achieve certain benchmarks, inspire their employees to do the best job possible, and keep the company’s culture alive and vibrant. In addition to dealing with their employees, they have to report to their superiors. And that requires flexibility to transition from being a leader to being a follower.
2. Charged with communicating a company’s vision that they didn’t create.
To be effective in their leadership, Middle Leaders have to be able to rally their employees behind a company’s vision. But if they didn’t create it, how can they feel so passionately about it that others get inspired to follow them? Ron not only talks about the challenges Middle Leaders face while adopting a company’s vision and communicating that vision to their employees, but he also suggests a process Middle Leaders follow to be passionate and effective communicators.
3. Not having enough support.
Let’s take corporate vision again as an example. As Ron points out, most training materials are designed for senior managers and talk about the importance of a vision and how to create one. If the majority of business and leadership advice is designed for executives, where do Middle Leaders turn for support? How do they learn to lead their teams, communicate a company’s vision, and inspire others?
To fill the gap, Ron now works as a leadership speaker and an executive coach to help companies support their Middle Leaders. Because he worked his way up the corporate ladder, he knows firsthand the challenges Middle Leaders face and has thought through the solutions that can be implemented to make their jobs more effective.