Middle Managers are an integral cog in the change wheel
They are instrumental in driving the change forward through their direct reports, yet, despite this, Middle Managers are often left out of discussions or consultation regarding change and then have the unenviable position of having to sell the message down the line.
This is unfair, unhelpful, and unsafe.
And it most certainly will not help the engagement or motivation of this key group of personnel.
Engage your Middle Managers from the onset of the change project.
Middle Managers are an integral part of your change champion group and should be consulted and appropriately informed regarding the plans for your change project.
- Communicate with them early sharing the “why” of the change project. If you can’t sell it to this group the chances of engaging your broader workforce in the change are even less likely.
- Ask for their ideas and contributions to your change agenda. If your reasons for the change are clearly articulated and show the business reasons and what will happen if you don’t change, Middle Managers will understand the need for the change. They can then help you design it.
- Be open to their feedback, and open to changing the path to your change goals. If there’s another way to get to your future state what’s the problem? It might not be what you intended, but if it helps engage this key group of change champions then it’s very much worth considering.
- Listen as they communicate concerns about front line impacts of the change. This group are most connected to what’s happening on the ground. It would be imprudent to ignore any concerns they have about impact. Sure, you can push forward, but you’ll only meet greater resistance at a later stage. Better to understand barriers to change now and plan how you will address these.
- Be open to concerns about change saturation and fatigue – as this alone can derail your chances of success (see Blog Avoiding Change Fatigue).
Train Your Middle Managers
The best way you can support your Middle Managers is to equip them with the appropriate skills and knowledge to lead successful change and to coach people through change resistance.
I offer two short training workshops for Middle Managers. Leading Successful Workplace Change and Coaching Through Resistance or a 3-hour masterclass workshop that will provide these leaders with the required skills.
Support your Middle Managers with these essential skills and watch your change bus move forward with a lot less speed bumps.
Find out more here: Coaching & Training