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Leading From the Middle. Key Objectives. Review major trends Discuss the implications of a shift in leadership towards leading from the middle Integrate salient concepts related to leading from the middle. What if?.

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Presentation Transcript
key objectives
Key Objectives
  • Review major trends
  • Discuss the implications of a shift in leadership towards leading from the middle
  • Integrate salient concepts related to leading from the middle
what if
What if?

You’re a mid level academic director at a small college. Your college is interested in expanding its reach and looking to add to the number of online offerings. The notion is contentious among your faculty, some of whom question the quality of distance classes. There’s actually some evidence that retention and completion rates lag behind grounded classes. However, it’s been reported that among other colleges in your region, online classes are attracting the fastest growing percentage of new students. You’re caught between serving two opposing opinions, one held by senior admin, the other by faculty.

  • What do you do?
  • How do you best represent and/or address the needs of both groups?
  • What leadership strengths or abilities would you draw on to navigate your way forward?
what if1
What if?

You are a middle level leader at your college. The VP of Human Resources is really upset with one of your direct reports as he feels this person is being disrespectful and is not supporting the administration’s decisions (e.g. undermining the new performance appraisal process). The VP of HR is putting you in the middle …wanting you to reprimand your direct report for what he feels is inappropriate, insubordinate. You have a good relationship with both your direct report and the VP and yet disagree with the VP of HR in this case.

  • What do you do?
  • How do you best represent and/or address the needs of all involved?
  • What leadership strengths or abilities would you draw on to navigate your way forward?
tell a story
Tell a Story
  • Share with your tables a story/situation where you felt you were in the middle
  • What were the circumstances?
  • What did you do?
  • Looking back, which of your strengths did you apply?
  • What were the outcomes?
effective followership
Effective Followership
  • Effective followers share many of the same characteristics as effective leaders.
  • Cultivating followership skills can be an excellent way to become a more effective leader
  • Followership can also be called "leading up," "managing up," or "leading from the middle."
  • http://govleaders.org/follow.htm
courageous followers courageous leaders
Courageous Followers, Courageous Leaders
  • It is the quality of the relationship of leaders and followers, all the way up and down the organization chart, that makes or breaks organizations. Those lower down in the organization have more direct experience with its people, processes and customers and need to be able to influence the leaders’ thinking on which way the organization should go. They cannot be intimidated by the power and trappings of office of the leaders to whom they report. Yet, as we know, they often are intimidated.
  • Ira Chalef

Remember followers need:

  • Trust
  • Stability
  • Compassion
  • Hope

Leaders can learn from followers!

Strength-Based Leadership

Rath & Conchie

megatrends 2010
Megatrends 2010
  • The Power of Spirituality
  • Dawn of Conscious Capitalism
  • Leading From the Middle
  • Spirituality in the Workplace
  • Values-Driven Consumer
  • The Wave of Conscious Solutions
  • The Socially Responsible Investment Boom
megatrends 20101
Megatrends 2010

Leadership does not reside solely in the hands of top executives.


“The stock of the charismatic CEO is falling and, a new star is blazing across the corporate heavens. Business’s latest hero—and perhaps its most unlikely—is the honest, hard-working manager.”


Think of middle children – they are usually the ones who bring siblings together, managing relationships diplomatically and effectively. Think of middle states (i.e., the Midwest) – farmers, small towns, and expansive prairies that instill grounded, simple values of what is possible. Think of the middle of an Oreo cookie – it is what holds things together and brings out the flavor in base ingredients. The middle is full of value!

9 principles of leading from the middle
9 Principles of leading from the middle
  • Direct Debates:
  • Mindful Listening:
  • Team Flexibility:
  • Accountably Free:
  • Valuably Fail:
  • Relentless Learning:
  • 100% Real Action:
  • Soul Full:
  • Crux:
  • Jon Mertz
  • Thin Difference
leaders are almost by definition people who change minds howard e gardner leading minds
“Leaders are almost by definition people who change minds.”—Howard E. Gardner, Leading Minds
  • Only 49 percent of employees have trust

and confidence in their senior managers.

  • Just 55 percent say senior leaders behave consistently with core values.
  • Only 53 percent believe senior

management has made the right changes

to stay competitive.

Is this true in your organization?

From Content for Coaches and Consultants


When strong leadership doesn’t come from above, it’s up to the organization itself — in particular, the people in the middle — to launch a rescue operation.


“Leading up requires great courage and determination.”

“We might fear how our superior will respond, we might doubt our right to lead up, but we all carry a responsibility to do what we can when it will make a difference.”

Michael Useem

Professor, Wharton School, University of PA

Leading Up: Managing Your Boss So You Both Win.

gallery walk
Gallery Walk

Go to a flip chart and address the question at each flip chart:

  • 1. What are the pros/benefits of being a middle manager or middle level leader?
  • 2. What are the cons/barriers of being in the middle?
  • 3. What are the major challenges facing the middle level leader in post secondary education?
  • 4. What are some strategies you use as a middle level leader to address challenges?