Power to the Middle: Why Managers Hold the Keys to the Future of Work

  • 5h 51m 15s
  • Bill Schaninger, Bryan Hancock, Emily Field
  • Gildan Media
  • 2023

If you're thinking of cutting your midlevel managers in the new world of work, think again.

"Middle manager." The term evokes a bygone industrial era in which managers functioned like cogs in a vast machine and bureaucracy ruled. In recent decades, midlevel managers became a favorite target for the chopping block—underappreciated, often considered a superfluous layer of the organization.

Not only does this outdated perspective need to change, the future demands it. In Power to the Middle, McKinsey thought leaders Bill Schaninger, Bryan Hancock, and Emily Field call for a profound reimagining of what middle managers can and must be able to do. They explain how middle managers are uniquely positioned close to the ground but with a crucial connection to company strategy—enabling them to guide organizations through the current period of rapid and complex change, as well as help to shape the new world of work.

With rich stories and cutting-edge research, Power to the Middle offers a new model for companies to radically alter the way they hire, train, and reward their most valuable asset: managers, the true center of the organization.

About the Author

Bill Schaninger is a senior partner emeritus in McKinsey's Philadelphia office. He is an international speaker, author, and adviser to senior leaders and government officials on the topics of talent, culture, values, and the broad impact of "how you run the place" on performance.

Bryan Hancock is a partner in McKinsey's Washington, DC, office and one of the global leaders of McKinsey's talent work. Through his research and client service, he has focused on connecting workers to opportunities, building their skills, and improving their day-to-day experience on the job.

Emily Field is a partner in McKinsey's Seattle office. She advises organizations globally across industries to deliver on their performance goals and people aspirations, with the role of the middle manager front and center.

Connect with the authors at mckinsey.com.

In this Audiobook

  • Introduction Seeing Managers Differently in a New World of Work
  • Chapter 1 - Why Managers Are So Frustrated A Neglect of Their Primary Purpose
  • Chapter 2 - A Look at the Forces That Got Us Here A Technology Boom, a Financial Crash, and Then Covid-19
  • Chapter 3 - The Case for Staying in the Middle From Way Station to Destination
  • Chapter 4 - The Great Rebundling From Job Eliminator to Job Re-Imaginer
  • Chapter 5 - Winning the Twenty-First Century War for Talent From Transactions to Interactions
  • Chapter 6 - Melding Performance and Purpose From Infrequent Evaluator to Continuous Coach
  • Chapter 7 - At the Center of Problem-Solving From Bureaucrat to Data Detective
  • Chapter 8 - Taking the Lead on Talent Management From Preservers to Challengers of the Status Quo
  • Chapter 9 - Connecting the Work to the People From Manager of Work to Manager of Inspiration
  • Conclusion The Success of Managers Starts With Senior Leaders Learning to Share the Power