Leading From the Middle

A while back, a leader we were working with was in a tough spot. He was trying to get the boss (the owner) to grow the business. But no matter what he did, he could not convince his boss to take steps to grow the business. There was much blame, justification and shouldering about why this was happening. Then, later, in a meeting the leadership team was having, we challenged the team to “just do it”. Respectfully, build a rough plan to grow the business over the next 5 years and deliver it to the owner for feedback

In 60 days, the plan was built and submitted. The owner made minor changes to it and renegotiated some of the issues, but in the end it was a big success. Regardless of the challenges in that business, it is now bigger and more capable. The middle level leaders are much more motivated since they had success “leading from the middle”.

If you are in the middle and cannot get your boss to move, sometimes doing a rough plan of what needs to be done helps. They may be waiting for you to get the drive and confidence before they do it. They may be too busy. They may not know how to do it. They may not see it in the same light.

Whether or not they agree and move forward, it increases your capital with them. You will also learn much from doing this. In addition it is a tool for you to teach, motivate and engage your troops as a team. When meeting with this client, we think back on this time with fond memories of when it was simpler: we could complain the top leader was not doing anything. However, it is much more fun now that the middle level leaders decided to lead the leader.

Some questions to consider:

  • If you are a top level leader, what needs to happen to get those below you more engaged and leading the team?
  • If you are a middle level leader, how can you help your leader to lead?
  • If someone cannot lead, how do we teach them or get them out of there in the next 4 months?

If your organization needs help moving forward and you need suggestions of how to get a much needed nudge to get something moving, contact our expert guides at 800-786-4332 or email CClemmer@AppliedVisionWorks.com. It only takes 30 minutes to get started!

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