by N. Purcell | Aug. 14, 2023 | 5 Min Read

How to improve leadership and management skills in middle managers


Middle management is pivotal in any business structure, acting as the critical link between upper-level executives and front-line employees. They ensure seamless communication, implement strategies and manage daily operations.

Middle management leadership translates high-level strategies into practical execution plans. As such, these integral leaders significantly influence a company's culture, productivity, and overall success.

According to McKinsey & Company research, relationships with management account for 86% of employees' job satisfaction. This statistic underscores the pressing need for comprehensive leadership training for mid-level managers. A well-crafted middle management development program is integral to any organization to foster a high-performing and agile workplace.

In this blog, we discuss how to improve leadership and management skills in middle managers with a mid-level leadership development program.

What are middle managers?

Middle managers are leaders within an organizational hierarchy who sit between senior management and employees. They play a crucial role in bridging the gap between strategic decisions made by top-level executives and the implementation of those decisions by front-line staff.

Key middle management skills

  • Communication: Middle managers need to be good communicators, relaying information from senior management to their teams and vice versa.
  • Coach: Middle managers need to be coaches, providing feedback, guidance, and support to improve employees’ performance.
  • Tactical: Middle managers need to be tactical leaders, ensuring day-to-day activities that keep the organization running smoothly are done right and on time.
  • Adaptable: Middle managers must be able to adapt to new circumstances, technologies, and challenges while maintaining stability within their teams.
  • Management: And, of course, middle managers must be skilled at management. This includes time management, project management, and people management.

If you want to know how to improve leadership and management skills in your middle managers, you need a mid-level leadership development program.

What is leadership training for mid-level managers?

Leadership training for middle managers is a specialized program designed especially for individuals who hold middle management positions within an organization. Middle management training aims to equip mid-level managers with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their roles and contribute to the overall success of the organization.

Middle management training topics

Let’s break down some of the most essential middle management development program topics:


Manager training programs should include leadership competency development. However, the content should highlight the specific traits that middle managers need as tactical leaders, such as communication, dependability, and management.

Business acumen

Understanding drivers and drainers, allocating resources, evaluating ROI, and building a business case are just some of the middle management skills that leadership training for mid-level managers should include to build their business acumen.

Soft skills

Middle-level managers with today's most in-demand soft skills are invaluable to your company’s success. Mastering soft skills include learning how to develop emotional intelligence, resolve conflicts, and lead teams through change.

Time and project management

Middle managers are multitaskers, which is why middle management training topics should include how to become more organized, set realistic goals, and delegate tasks to ensure daily operations stay on target.

Professional development and coaching

Training in coaching and mentorship helps managers learn how to professionally develop employees. When paired with Spoke®, managers can easily give feedback, encourage practice, and follow progress—driving better coaching experiences.

Change management

Change management is an essential middle management training topic. It gives your managers the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to address resistance to change, support employees through transition, and create a feedback loop with upper management.

Training programs designed to develop your middle management leadership

Only 20% of managers surveyed by McKinsey & Company strongly agree that their organizations help them be successful people managers—don’t be that organization.

Middle managers hold a crucial position in your organization that demands attention. By investing in management development training, your middle managers will receive the targeted skills-based training they need to succeed in their roles and build high-performing teams. Here’s how your organization benefits:

  • Increase employee engagement. Managers who understand how to lead their teams effectively can contribute to higher levels of employee engagement, morale, job satisfaction, and loyalty.
  • Reduce resistance to change. Managers equipped with change management skills can guide their teams through transitions, helping to minimize resistance and disruptions.
  • Develop an internal talent pipeline. Managers who focus on developing their team members prepare high-potential talent to take on new roles, saving the organization resources associated with external recruiting.
  • Retain top talent. Employees value opportunities for growth and advancement, so when their managers invest time and energy into coaching them, they’re more likely to stick around.

Are you ready to transform your middle management? Request a demo of our manager training programs to develop the agile leaders of tomorrow.

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