Do you have bench strength or bench warmers? If you’re like most executive leaders, you have more bench warmers than you care to admit. But, there’s good news ahead.
News Flash: Traditional organizational structures have changed; today, “flat is the new black.” Middle managers carry more strategic responsibilities, manage more large-scale projects, provide more mentoring and are tasked with more team growth goals than ever before. Being stretched thin and wide is the new reality.
Managers struggle just to keep up with their inbox, let alone carve out time for long chats with their employees. The care and feeding of employees is falling by the wayside. People are moving faster, want information sooner, talk more and listen less.
The problem deepens as leaders can’t get away with giving orders anymore and don’t follow a clear hierarchy. Middle managers have responsibility without authority and manage through a matrix web. Roles are unclear, priorities are constantly shifting and decisions needed to be made yesterday. And, yet senior leaders often expect the middle managers to both understand the strategy and figure out how to execute. And, by the way, those solutions better be innovative!
Training and support clearly exists, but many companies only invest in the top performers and the highest senior level executives, leaving middle managers unaccounted and floating on their own. Consequently, they’re burning out and are likely to jump ship if a better offer comes their way. Here’s a startling statistic: “According to Talent Trends’ 2014 report, 85% of all staff are open to finding a new job.” So, even though they’re not actively seeking, if an opportunity presents itself they would consider jumping ship.
It’s no wonder only 13% of senior leaders have confidence in their leadership pipeline[i], which creates tension on both sides of the aisle. Yet, ironically, 86% of today’s business leaders agree that middle level managers will either make or break the organization[ii].
You might be asking yourself: If leaders see the critical role of their middle managers, why do companies lack training and development options? Here are a few reasons:
Here’s the good news: we’ve been considering the plight of middle managers and have spent several years developing new creative approaches for learning. Learning should be a natural, ongoing process for leaders and organizations, and remain affordable, accessible and provide sustained benefits.
To build your bench, various training options and tools exist. In our next post, we’ll talk about the online and offline options companies have. And, we’ve got some great information to share, including tips and tricks, which can be used right away. Stay tuned!
[i] Right Management, “Talent Management: Accelerating Business Performance.” 2014
[ii] Deloitte. “Leaders at all levels: Close the gap between hype and readiness.” 2014
[iii] Right Management, “Talent Management: Accelerating Business Performance.” 2014