Not the Top, not the Bottom: the Second Strategy for Middle Management


The Second Strategy

Another way to support the growth and development of the middle is to form a group of middle managers from various companies. Participants are leaders from different departments: sales executives give input to production and human resource department heads, and so on. There is learning and sharing of different views that goes on during the group sessions, which I also recommend being led by an outside facilitator.

I have led such a middle manager key-employee group. We met for each session at different companies, which allowed participants to see the different facets of participating organizations. This key middle management group also gained perspective by reading a different book for each session. Members coached one another on issues and concerns brought to the meetings. The coaching model we followed goes like this:

  • A participant presents a problem with which he or she wants coaching and counseling. This is something challenging that they want their peers’ perspectives on.
  • In “round robin” style, everyone asks questions about the issue. You are only allowed to ask one question at a time. Once the question is asked, the person presenting the issue responds with an answer. Then the next person asks a question. Once all questions are asked and responded to, it is assumed that everyone understands the issue.
  • Participants then give coaching and feedback to the person presenting the issue. The participants, in effect, become one another’s board of advisors.


For more information on CMI’s leadership development programs click here.