Contact Manager


+64 21 620 456

16 Kauri Street, Woburn, Hutt City, New Zealand


Middle Management Development

Why Middles are important

In most organisations middle managers are vitally important; vital to the continuing success of the organisation; and vital to you because without them your job would be hell.

  • In most organisations Middles directly manage about 80% of the organisation
  • Research shows that the most important influence on how people behave is how they are managed by their immediate manager
  • Middles have their finger on the pulse, with the most direct information about what's happening in the organisation and marketplace
  • Middles are responsible for implementing the strategies
  • Middles influence the whole culture, they can either stop change or accelerate it, depending on support.

Middles get less attention and less development than almost any other group

Research by Barry Oshry shows that Middles feel neglected, uncared for and unwanted. They feel burned-out, bottlenecked, bored and brassed-off! Yet Middles are one of the most important groups in the organisation.

Supervisors, Project Managers, Department Managers or whatever you call them have every right to feel brassed-off. The chances are they're getting older, they now realise that they will never reach the corner office, they feel undervalued, restructured and with nowhere to go.

Most leadership comes not from Middles, not Tops

When we think of leadership many senior managers think about the CEO or the executive team but often most of the leadership occurs not at the top of the organisation but at the middle. Middles are more important to the functioning of organisations than we think - or at least they are in well-functioning organisations.

The number one misconception people have about leaders is the belief that leadership comes simply from having a position or title. This misconception is so pervasive we have given it a name, we call it the, "position myth". Nothing could be further from the truth. You don't need a position at the top of your group, department, division or organisation in order to lead.

The reality is that most leadership comes not from Tops but from Middles.

Leadership is a choice someone makes, not a place they sit. The true measure of leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less. Leadership is dynamic, and the right to lead must be earned individually with each person you meet.

In this Program, people learn, position has little to do with genuine leadership. People can choose to become leaders wherever they are. They learn to:

  1. Strive for the top of their game, not the top of the organisation.
  2. Work to reach their potential, not necessarily the corner office.
  3. Change their thinking from, "I want a position that will make people follow me", to, "I want to become a person who people will want to follow."

Many middle managers don't know how to manage people

The development of senior managers is catered for by development courses like the Leadership Development Centre. Middle managers are largely forgotten about.

Many middle managers have been promoted into their management roles without proper training. They may have been good analysts, policy people or whatever but they may not know much about managing people.

For example:

  1. Many middle managers don't understand that people are fundamentally different from one another and that if they are treated the same as everyone else they will give only luke-warm results

  2. They are unable to identify the uniquely important talents in their team so they can't use these to build teams of different skill types that make a more powerful whole

  3. They don't understand how the subconscious works. They need to understand their people will never be more successful than the pictures they have of themselves. When they tell people to "stop being late" or "don't be messy" they need to realise that the picture they are reinforcing are ones of being late and being messy.

  4. They are dragged down by the issues of the day. They need to reduce busyness and allow more time for planning and reflection by understanding what is important and where they will get the best return for their time.

  5. They tend to be better at defining problems and going through the motions than leading from the front, developing "can do" approaches and finding solutions.

Our approach is based on peer-to-peer learning

Instead of relying entirely on the wisdom of anointed experts, our approach assumes that people learn best from peers who share the same daily struggles of middle management like themselves.

Furthermore, peer conversations can provide emotional as well as practical support. Peer-to-peer replaces the one-way flow of information typical of training programs "the pour-and-snore approach" with fluid online conversations.

Our program

For full details of our program.

Our program is in-house

The program we run is in-house for the following reasons:

  1. Participants learn together from each other
  2. It increases peer pressure
  3. All participants go through the same experience
  4. It's totally tailored to the needs of the participants
  5. Energy, focus and collaboration are strong by-products of the program.

Our program works because it provides sufficient time to change habits

Changing habits takes time. We need time to change (in order of difficulty) attitudes, behaviours, skills and knowledge.

Our program is built on a modular approach

We deliver the development as a series of short modules with gaps in between for practice and testing of concepts. The result is three months development in only three days.

We have found that the best results are achieved by short (2 - 4 hour) biweekly or monthly modules. This produces lasting results without killing the budget and the participants.

The Modules

The selection of modules will be determined by the group and in consultation with you, however they often include modules in the following six mindsets. A typical program may look something like...

Product support

This product has been developed and is supported by Bruce Holland with help where required from other members of the Virtual Group Business Specialists.


All work undertaken by Bruce Holland is guaranteed. If at the end of the program the client does not feel that they have received value for money, they may adjust the bill and pay an amount equal to the value they feel they received.

For more information about how you can use Leadership Development Program to get the most out of your managers call

Bruce Holland
+6421 620456

Key words: Leadership, leadership development, leadership management, leadership training, leadership program, leadership skills

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