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Promoting Growth and Expertise in Your Middle Managers

  • Middle managers offer an internal source of talent to strengthen a business’s programs and initiatives
  • Traditional training may fall short if employers don’t address deeper issues to strengthen leaders’ abilities
  • A look at a framework focusing on mindset and skills as well as knowledge

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Professional training offers a chance for employers to strengthen their managers’ knowledge and skills. However, deeper changes must be made in order to strengthen these leaders’ abilities.

A recent article by Hise O. Gibson, senior lecturer in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at the Harvard Business School, and Shawnette Rochelle, president of the executive coaching firm Excellence Unbounded, say middle managers are a good resource for businesses to strengthen internal talent. By investing in these professionals, they can help develop greater leadership skills and give them oversight of more complex programs and initiatives.

Gibson and Rochelle focus on the MSK Leader Development Framework, which develops knowledge and technical capabilities by focusing on mindset, skills, and knowledge. The framework holds that the first two qualities are crucial, while companies often focus on investing only in the third.

  • Mindset goals include helping leaders understand their conscious and unconscious beliefs and how they inform the ways they handle situations and understand different perspectives
  • Focusing on skills allows businesses to bolster leaders’ self-leadership and emotional intelligence while assessing qualities such as flexibility, resilience, and empathy
  • The authors offer suggestions on concrete actions to pursue mindset and skills initiatives, such as a dialogue with the manager to assess their thought processes or inviting leaders to focus on one or two emotional intelligence goals they’d like to improve

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