In order to survive in these turbulent times, organizations need competent, effective, and empowered middle management. Yet those in middle positions commonly report that their jobs are too demanding, stressful, and unrewarding. Leading from the Middle aims at transforming middle positions into the drivers of integrated and effective change in their organization. This workshop supports Middles’ ability to lead more effectively and become key players in organizational change efforts.
Leading from the Middle focuses on the dilemmas, challenges, system power possibilities and contributions of middle positions. The workshop offers Barry Oshry’s classic Top, Middle, Bottom, Customer experiential exercise, highlighting issues essential to successful Middle life:
The Multiple Worlds in which Middles Interact.
Participants will explore the very different “worlds” Middles are called upon to interact with. They discover the pitfalls they need to avoid and the effective strategies they need to follow when interacting with Tops who are overwhelmed by complexity, Bottoms who are feeling oppressed by management, Customers who feel they are being inadequately attended to, and other equally harried Middles.
The Multiple Roles Middles Play.
Participants will also discover the stumbling blocks they face when negotiating the multiple roles they are called on to play: sometimes as Top (when they are responsible for some piece of the action), sometimes as Bottom (when they are on the receiving end of unwanted circumstances), sometimes as Customers (when they are not getting delivery on products or services they need), and sometimes as peers (when unproductive peer relationships are limiting organizational effectiveness).
The Power of Middle Integration.
In addition, they will learn about the power of middle integration: the personal benefits integrating with other Middles provides, the contribution it makes to those they lead, manage, supervise, or coach, as well as to their Tops. And the central role integration plays in organizational success. Participants will discover the issues that regularly prevent Middle integration from developing and how to master them.
Middle managers looking to increase their influence and impact and become drivers of change in their organization.
Executives committed to strengthening their organizations by supporting leadership from the middle.
The purpose of the LEADING FROM THE MIDDLE WORKSHOP is for participants to share an intense interactive activity around human systems dynamics that engages them to examine:
Participants get the opportunity to:
Participants can expect to come away with:
For more insights, check out Barry Oshry’s free e-Book "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" in which he narrates the pitfalls and opportunities of working in the middle and how understanding can speed up their development as a leader.
Barry Oshry, Seeing Systems: Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life
Barry Oshry, Leading Systems
Barry Oshry, In The Middle
Barry Oshry, The Possibilities of Organization
Tom Devane and Barry Oshry, Collaborative Organizations: The Organization Workshop
“Context Blindness: What We Don’t See Will Hurt Us” by Barry Oshry in Practicing Organization Development, 3rd edition, 2010.
Understand what’s behind our methodology in our free Organization Workshop e-book. Or get a free sneak peek of a live workshop.
Explore other Power+Systems resources to strengthen your leadership development practice.