265: The True Value of Middle Managers with Emily Field

Do you ever feel stuck in the middle? Middle managers have a unique opportunity to understand the high-level objectives of an organization and touch the day-to-day activities that accomplish those goals. However, middle managers can often feel pulled in two different directions, answering to their superiors and the employees below them. How can middle managers effectively balance their time and attention to be their best selves at work?

Today’s guest is Emily Field. Emily helps organizations establish a talent-first approach, instilling a high-performance culture, and adopting effective people-analytics approaches. Her new book Power to the Middle focuses on how organizations can empower their middle managers who are uniquely positioned close to the daily work AND overall business strategy.

Emily and I talk about the important role that middle managers play, what it is they are uniquely suited to do, and how they can start to shift their role to do more of what’s essential and less of what isn’t!

Five members of the Modern Manager community can get a copy of Emily’s book, Power to the Middle: Why Managers Hold the Keys to the Future of Work. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community.

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Read the related blog article: How to Tap the Hidden Value of Middle Managers


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilykfield/

Book: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Middle-Managers-Hold-Future/dp/1647824850/


  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:56 Why middle managers are the secret ingredient in organizations
  • 03:24 What aspects of the managerial role make it essential?
  • 07:58 A manager’s unique ability to reallocate work
  • 10:31 A manager’s unique ability to connect people with roles (supermarket story)
  • 13:00 How can managers advocate for appropriate compensation and professional development dollars?
  • 24:46 Tools and frameworks to help managers be better in their role
  • 27:17 A great boss Emily has worked for
  • 29:41 Keeping up with Emily
  • 30:50 [Extended episode only] What’s the role of a senior manager in this context?
  • 32:40 [Extended episode only] Client story: Bank managers
  • 36:09 [Extended episode only] What is the impact of hiring and promoting managers well?

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