Managers – the long suffering meat in the sandwich?


If there was one skill that organisations want, it’s the ability to introduce change successfully and sustainably. To have an organisation that is change ready and embraces change. Organisations spend a lot of time and money trying to build a culture that welcomes change rather than resist it.

But survey after survey tells us that most changes fail miserably. They’re either not implemented properly in the first place, or they don’t manage to survive past the initial hurrah.

What are we missing?

Which brings us to the question of whether there is something we are missing? And in my view, what we’re missing is the meat in the sandwich. So – organisational changes spend a lot of time focused on employees and on the leadership, but they often miss those that need to do the implementing – the line managers and supervisors.

Sure, we include the managers in our comms plans. We might even pre brief them so that they know what they need to say to their teams. But it’s a rare organisation that thinks about the managers as a unique group – in that they’re both employees in their own right, and responsible for their team as a manager and a leader and develops a specific strategy around that.

Why does it matter?

It’s a tricky job managing your own emotions around the implications of an organisational change for yourself, whilst also trying to keep your team motivated and work through the ramifications for them. This becomes magnified when the changes mean a likelihood of job losses.

What I’ve noticed is that even just acknowledging the dual roles that managers/supervisors face, and being empathetic to the task ahead of them is helpful.

As humans, we all want to be seen, heard and acknowledged.

So, if you have a change initiative about to be introduced, take another look at your plan. Is it about top – down implementation? Or is there an approach that segments the different groups and has a specific strategy around what the change means to them – as individuals as well as their role within the company.

Until next week, happy leading.


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