Employee engagement is creeping up, but guess who’s not engaged? Middle managers. Those much-maligned and ignored folks are under more pressure than ever to get stuff done and keep their organizations moving. Natalia Smalyuk of Not Business As Usual joins us for a wide-ranging look at why middle managers are struggling, how executives can re-engage them before it’s too late, and how organizations need to double down on purpose, authenticity, connection and trust to get through the pandemic crisis period.

We talked about how the biggest remote work experiment in history has left middle managers disillusioned, with their career paths on hold and holding the bag when it comes to helping employees manage through uncertainty. The battle for talent is not going away, though the pandemic may have put a small damper on it, so these powerful, disengaged, undervalued folks are more open than ever to taking calls from recruiters. Some key take-aways from our wide-ranging discussion include:

  • Reducing psychological uncertainty
  • Focusing on building trust and safe spaces
  • Creating virtual communities of peers for middle managers
  • Doubling down on organizational purpose
  • Building non-verbal communication skills for managers
  • Bringing more personal things into the virtual workplace

Key Topics

  • Why Natalia started a business in the middle of a pandemic 1:38 
  • Why middle managers aren’t engaged 3:50
  • Misunderstandings and uncertainty 7:25
  • The coming battle for the hearts and minds of middle managers 8:55
  • Purpose and engagement 11:00
  • Why are managers struggling and what can we do? 16:42
  • Do middle managers have to curate their presence? 26:20
  • Invisible, absent middle managers 30:30
  • Who’s getting it right? 35:25
  • Advice for middle managers 43:20
  • Summary 49:35

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