How do I become a more effective middle manager?

How Do I Become a More Effective Middle Manager? (Video)

by | Apr 28, 2021 | Asking For a Friend Featured |

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Practical Ideas For Becoming a Better Middle Manager

“Middle managers are like the middle child of an organization; often neglected by senior managers and blamed by their reports. However, they’re still expected to be as charming as the youngest and simultaneously as responsible as the oldest. We end up with middle child syndrome, enshrouded in conflict, wanting more of a say, and not sure how they fit in.” 

-Mary Galloway, Faculty member of the Jack Welch Management Institute

In this week’s Asking For a Friend I interview, Scott Mautz author of Leading From the Middle. about the challenging role of being a middle manager.

effective middle manager

I think you will find the discussion of the 21 roles of a middle manager particularly interesting.

Here are a few of my favorites.


A core role of the middle manager is to receive the vision and strategies from above and ensure everyone down (and often across) understands that direction.

The key here is to know that you’re not just an explainer, you’re an expander. Always add your perspective to upper management directives and help employees understand how their work specifically fits into the broader mission. Give a chance for employees to react to the direction and express concerns (knowing that resistance is often just a cover for wanting to be heard).

We’ve written about the importance of the translator role as well, including the importance of translating up as well as down.

Accountability Czar

Fostering a sense of accountability isn’t just about holding your employees accountable. It starts with you acting like an owner and holding yourself accountable, as well as holding senior managers accountable.


This refers to taking the initiative to advance innovation, to act like an entrepreneur, within your company.

Deloitte research shows the key to doing this well is to avoid the most common intrapreneurship trap—favoring familiar ideas close in proximity to existing solutions over unfamiliar, new ideas.

Your turn.

What are the most important roles of a middle manager?

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders resolve workplace ambiguity and chaos, so that they can drive innovation, productivity and revenue without burning out employees. She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

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Where in the World are
Karin & David?

Where in the World are
Karin & David?

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