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Developing the Middle for Organizational Success and Viability

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ALS-July-15-2013By Michelle Maldonado

Associate Vice President of Corporate and Strategic Relationships, American Public University System

Middle managers serve as critical connectors between senior management and frontline employees. They must execute strategy, make hard decisions throughout strategic and tactical deliveries and balance employee morale and expectations with overall organizational objectives. It would seem a natural place to look for future leaders when considering talent bench strength. However, many times, these employees are overlooked or worse, discounted, during the succession planning process. In this issue of the Authentic Leadership Series, I speak with Stacy Shamberger, Executive Vice President of Skyline Group, to discuss why “developing the middle” not only makes good business sense, but also promotes organizational success and sustainability.

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Q. What is “the middle” and what are some related challenges that organizations are experiencing?

Stacy: In most organizations the middle represents those managers who work between senior leadership and frontline employees. I consider them to be glue that holds the organization together because they’re the conduit for receiving the C-level business strategy and then executing it on the ground level. They’re literally placed in the middle of an organization and must routinely make difficult decisions. Often the middle managers are tasked with communicating and addressing the issues of their frontline employees on a frequent basis. This can be a tough position because employees are looking to them for answers. Middle managers are expected to be forthcoming and authentic, while at the same time, the executive leadership is expecting them to execute the corporate strategy. This means that they’re also accountable to the stockholders, the board, and to the policies and laws that govern the workplace. Problems arise when middle managers are placed into this critical space, but more often than not, they have little to no leadership training or future development opportunities.

Read on to learn more about Stacy’s insights on promoting organizational success and sustainability as part of the APUS Authentic Leadership Series, “The Search for Brilliance: Developing the Middle for Organizational Success and Viability.”

About Michelle:

Michelle Maldonado serves as Associate Vice President of the Corporate and Strategic Relationships team for American Public University (APU). She is also the creator of The Authentic Leadership Series and represents APU in conferences and other venues on the topic of leadership authenticity and its convergence with emotional intelligence, mindfulness and other “conscious leadership” practices that help build sustainable organizations. Michelle is a former corporate attorney with more than 17 years of leadership experience in strategic planning, operations and partnership development across the education, technology, and online media industries. She is passionate about talent development, coaching, and mentoring of professionals to support individual growth and success. Utilizing an authentic and consultative approach, Michelle collaborates with industry organizations to form education alliances that support overall talent and institutional growth strategies. To learn more about how American Public University’s programs and services may help you, please visit: www.StudyAtAPU.com/Solutions or contact Michelle at mmaldonado@apus.edu.

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