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  • Writer's pictureLata Hamilton

Part 2: The biggest mistake when engaging middle managers

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

Last week's post was all about making sure middle managers, that critical group of impacted stakeholders, are factored in when you're leading your change. How? By remembering: the middle managers themselves are going through the change, too! This simple insight is often forgotten, and it can be a big mistake that can hurt the success of your change. So these two sister articles focus on how to fix this issue.

Last week's post stepped you through how to assess the change for you managers properly (read it here if you missed it). Today's is three ideas on how to set your middle managers up for success.

Ready? Let's go!

3 ideas to lead change for your middle managers

Tip #1: Do a leader-level version

It's very easy to get caught up on the change requirements for the team. But whatever you do for the team, do a version for middle managers, too. This could be leader-specific communications sent ahead of the team comms or broader audience comms. Or taking the leaders through the same training the team will go through - which is especially great for managers to then support and coach their teams at go live and beyond (remember: if you're doing Train the Trainer, this is ideally be a separate session - give them the training experience in full first, because remember - they're going through the change too!). Most of the messaging and content will be the same, you might just slightly adjust it to be relevant to the leaders.

Tip #2: Offer Executive Coaching

Remember that just because someone is a manager or people leader, doesn't mean they have fantastic self-awareness or reflection skills to make sense of the change for themselves. This is especially true if your middle managers have been promoted for their technical expertise, rather than their own leadership motivation. Executive Coaching isn't just for Executive-level: it's for any leader who needs someone to to talk to work through different approaches and solutions to problems or changes. Offering even one session can be of huge value in setting up your managers for success. When your middle managers have come to terms with the change and the future, it's so much easier for them to lead their team to that place, too.

Tip #3: Encourage vision setting

It should be no surprise that engagement and buy in is critical, and you don't get that by battering on about the process changes and new roles and responsibilities. You get it by having leaders taking ownership and building themselves a new story about the positive future for themselves. My Engagement Formula (click here to learn the formula for yourself) is all about having individuals decide what the change will mean for them. And again - when middle managers have done it for themselves, it's so much easier for them to help their teams to that place, too.

When you're leading change, it doesn't all rest on your shoulders. There are tons of resources you can tap into to support the change to success. Your middle managers are one of them. Will you help them help you bring your change to life?

I'm Lata Hamilton - Change Leadership and Confidence expert, Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, and the creator of the Leading Successful Change program.

Grab my free Creative Launch Ideas Guide with 53 ways to bring your next Change and Transformation to life - download it here.


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