Leading from the Middle

On September 15th, PDR's Senior Consultant Christine Mikhail, spoke at Greater Houston Partnership's Women's Business Alliance (WBA) on the topic titled "Leading from the Middle", a Lunch & Learn session for women in middle management positions. Greater Houston Partnership has been executing their vision to make Houston a great place to live, work and build a business since 1840. The Partnership’s collaborations with diverse organizations positively influences Houston’s growth and encourages top talent to relocate from all over the country. One of their many unique collaborations includes the Women’s Business Alliance. The WBA is a platform for the professional development of high-preforming women with the desire to grow in their roles or up the corporate ladder. 

Organizations spend time, effort and finances training and developing leaders in executive positions. Of course these efforts are warranted, as the executives are the people that share the organization’s vision. The training assists in the focus of their efforts on accomplishing the goals they set out for their business units. Executives are often in meetings, strategically planning their next steps in order to stay the course of success. They must also cooperate with multiple different teams in order to accomplish their vision and goals. These are “appointed leaders”; people promoted to their position by other leaders.

However, in every company there are a set of individuals that are often the unsung heroes. The employees in organizations that lead themselves, the middle managers, are often the people helping to hold the organization together. As Jennifer Waldner, Director of Corporate Citizenship at AIG, describes them, these people are the cream filling of an Oreo, while the executives and staff employees are the hard cookie shell. Each layer of the cookie is necessary, the people in the middle of the organization, however, are the self-starters. They are the individuals who are eager to grow, develop and learn. They set goals, work on their challenges and play to their strengths. These are the elected leaders, peers look to these people for guidance, in an organization.

Christine challenges middle managers with 3 Key Learnings: 1) LEAD yourself first 2) SET challenging goals and 3) INSPIRE others.  Below is her suggested framework to follow when setting challenging goals.  

Christine's key messages has lead to additional interest on the topic.  Check out her blog post that includes additional key messages on "Leading from the Middle". 

For additional information on our presentation(s), please contact us.  

Christine Mikhail

Christine is a Senior Consultant at PDR who specializes in the early stages of a design project. As a member of our workplace performance team, Christine has guided several clients through the discovery phase of their projects. Christine is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and is a leader in PDR’s Organizational Design’s  consulting practice that specializes in leadership alignment, coaching and organizational development.