Power to the Middle: Why Managers Hold the Keys to the Future of Work

Power to the Middle: Why Managers Hold the Keys to the Future of Work

Power to the Middle: Why Managers Hold the Keys to the Future of Work

Power to the Middle: Why Managers Hold the Keys to the Future of Work


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If you're thinking of cutting your midlevel managers in the new world of work, think again.

"Middle manager." The term evokes a bygone industrial era in which managers functioned like cogs in a vast bureaucratic machine. In recent decades, midlevel managers became a favorite target for the chopping block—underappreciated, often considered a superfluous layer of the organization.

Not only does this outdated perspective need to change, but the future demands it. In Power to the Middle, McKinsey thought leaders Bill Schaninger, Bryan Hancock, and Emily Field call for a profound reimagining of managers and their roles. They explain how middle managers are uniquely positioned close to the ground but with a crucial connection to company strategy, enabling them to guide their organizations through periods of rapid and complex change, as well as to help shape the new world of work.

The authors compellingly illustrate this deep shift in the workplace, showing how:

  • Managers are the key to winning the war for talent, which requires strong people skills to attract and retain the best talent.
  • Managers must shift from merely enforcing rules to challenging them, serving as critical stopgaps for rules that are ineffective or obsolete.
  • Crucially, good managers must not be promoted out of their jobs. Instead, their title and compensation should reflect their high value and allow them to advance within their roles.

With rich stories and cutting-edge research, Power to the Middle offers a new model for companies to radically alter the way they hire, train, and reward their midlevel managers—their most valuable asset.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781647824853
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 07/18/2023
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 114,724
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Bill Schaninger is a senior partner emeritus in McKinsey's Philadelphia office. He is an international speaker, author, and adviser to senior leaders and government officials on the topics of talent, culture, values, and the broad impact of "how you run the place" on performance.

Bryan Hancock is a partner in McKinsey's Washington, DC, office and one of the global leaders of McKinsey's talent work. Through his research and client service, he has focused on connecting workers to opportunities, building their skills, and improving their day-to-day experience on the job.

Emily Field is a partner in McKinsey's Seattle office. She advises organizations globally across industries to deliver on their performance goals and people aspirations, with the role of the middle manager front and center.

Connect with the authors at mckinsey.com.

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