The crucial skills for middle managers to survive the 'great unbossing'

Middle managers have long been the targets of criticism in the workplace, with employees increasingly viewing their direct supervisors as meddlesome, outdated, and taking credit for their work. However, simply eliminating middle management entirely may not be the answer, according to Koma Gandy, the VP of business and leadership at the corporate training platform Skillsoft.

Rather than axing middle managers, Gandy suggests that we need to recognize the value they can bring and focus on developing their crucial "soft power" skills. [citation:1] By improving communication, listening, empathy, and emotional intelligence, middle managers can avoid the "great unbossing" trend and become more effective leaders. 

However, this requires companies to invest in training and supporting their middle managers. Many are thrust into management roles without adequate guidance on how to effectively lead a team. [citation:1] Developing skills like active listening and clear communication can help managers make their employees feel valued and understood, unlocking their full potential.

When these soft skills are lacking, it can breed mistrust and lead to micromanagement, which is often a result of managers simply not knowing any better. Rather than eliminating this cohort, Gandy argues it would be more cost-effective in the long run for companies to intentionally develop and train their middle managers. 

"I really think it's a matter of, how do we intentionally develop and expose middle managers to the types of skills and the type of training that they need to be successful," Gandy said, "rather than throwing that entire cohort away to the detriment of an organization." 

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