Business Magazine

Why Middle Management Isn't Dead

Posted on the 17 May 2011 by Alanhargreaves @RechargeToday

It’s more like re-birthing

It’s fashionable to say it’s over for middle managers. The theory goes that everything they did before either is, or will be, sorted out by new technology.

I don’t know what businesses these people are talking about. But let’s take an obvious candidate – Information Technology.  Change in that industry is rapid, and technology is increasingly complex. But I have yet to find an IT company that isn’t dependent on sound middle management to make sure they can reliably deliver their services.

Middle management is not dying; it’s being redefined. The skill set is changing, but it still requires skill. Someone has to make sure that something is happening. Try running any business where you don’t have a strata of middle managers to ensure that strategy is turned into action.

This is not is confined to IT. The management of any business is increasingly complex. Thanks to technology, we have dramatically more sophisticated monitoring systems. Executives are overwhelmed with information, from KPI analysis, market segmentation or ROI assessment through to complicated customer, staff or supplier ratings.

Handling complexity

There is simply too much going on. To get through this, executives need to simplify their decision-making to a few key areas and delegate the rest. The people they will delegate to are those with the capabilities that make up the new middle management skill sets – the people who run the help desks, the CRM systems or the teams of “people-facing” employees.

Middle management is a skill in itself. Anyone who is in senior management knows the value of these people. They themselves were usually one at some stage. It’s great ground for career development. Running any team is an apprenticeship in leadership and collaboration.

People say that middle management is being outsourced. Exactly who do they think are managing those outsourcing firms doing payroll, procurement or logistics?

There's more of them, not less

When MIT professor, Paul Osterman, did a thorough study of middle managers, not only did he find there were more of them, but they were more productive, more autonomous and actually got more pleasure out of their job.

That’s good news. It means we haven’t lost sight of the most basic ingredient in management success – someone has to take action; someone has to make it work.

Yes, some careers stop at middle management, but according to Osterman’s research, a lot of them are happy about it.

Great leaders also emerge through the process. If you read the biographies of great business leaders, their resumes invariably include periods when the positions they held could only be described as middle management. Often that was the platform from which they launched their move into corporate leadership.

Love your middle managers. They are crucial resource, a means of making things happen – and the likely source of the leaders who will eventually run your business. Be glad that they will know their stuff when they get there.

There's more about managing complexity and generating action in the book Recharge. You can buy it online here.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Emojis Can Be Used to Show Intent ?

    There has been a lot of talk about emojis when it comes to domain names. It now seems that they are moving their way to be used in court proceedings. Read more

    12 hours, 20 minutes ago by   Worldwide
  • French Onion Chicken

    French Onion Chicken

    I have long been a huge fan of the flavours of French Onion Soup . . . caramelised onion, sweet and succulent . . . cheese . . . toast . . . garlic . . .... Read more

    13 hours, 20 minutes ago by   Mariealicerayner
  • Suffer the Little Children - Manchester Monday

    Suffer Little Children Manchester Monday

    As on other occasions recently, I find myself unable to write to theme for this week's blog. In fact I have been sitting here for over an hour trying to find a... Read more

    14 hours, 47 minutes ago by   Ashleylister
  • Pandan Chiffon (cooking Method)

    Pandan Chiffon (cooking Method)

    这是我吃过的最好吃的班兰戚风!不夸张,没骗你。这个戚风蛋糕体真的是鬆软到可以做瑜伽,忍不住要小心翼翼地捧在手心。一口一口吃到班兰和椰奶的香,太棒了!Pandan Chiffon (cooking method)(recipe adapted from Wen's Delight)Ingredients:5 egg... Read more

    16 hours, 39 minutes ago by   Cathysjoy
  • Chris Blue Winner of The Voice Debuts at No. 1 on Hot Gospel Songs Chart

    Chris Blue Winner Voice Debuts Gospel Songs Chart

    ChristianNews You better let your light shine Chris Blue!!!!!! The  12th season of NBC’s The Voice winner Chris Blue — a worship leader at Cokesbury United... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   Firstladyb
  • Movie Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ (Second Opinion)

    Movie Review: ‘Guardians Galaxy Vol. (Second Opinion)

    Movie Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' (Second Opinion) Plot: Set several months after the events of the first film, the Guardians of the Galaxy are o... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   House Of Geekery
  • Bravery is an Option, Not an Obligation

    It’s interesting to note that in a world where people constantly claim anyone with a conscience or a complaint is being a “special snowflake”, stoicism is... Read more

    The 24 May 2017 by   The Guyliner