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Rethinking the role of middle management for the new world of work

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 10 October 2023

Issue publication date: 31 October 2023




McKinsey partners, Bill Schaninger, Bryan Hancock and Emily Field are championing the premise that the need for a fundamental rethink of the role of middle management in today’s organizations is now more urgent than ever.


So what should the new blueprint be for middle management as the crucial link between the executive level and the front line S&L interviewer Prof Brian Leavy asks the authors of Power to the Middle: Why Managers Hold the Keys to the Future of Work.


Companies with top quartile management practices can have more than three times the return to shareholders than other companies.

Practical implications

Because of middle managers’ proximity to the front line, they have a helpful, realistic perspective on how new tools like generative AI should be adopted throughout the organization.


The authors found that middle managers deliver the most value to the organization when they can serve as coaches, connectors, talent managers and strategists. For senior leaders to truly put middle managers at the forefront, they must give managers space to grow and the license to manage in a way that works for them and their team.



Leavy, B. (2023), "Rethinking the role of middle management for the new world of work", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 51 No. 6, pp. 10-15.



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