Being stuck in the middle is rough, being in the middle of an organization can be one of the toughest jobs in business. In addition to having and developing the required technical, strategic, and personal skills to succeed, middle managers face a variety of challenges on a daily basis.
The best source of inspiration in leadership is from leadership. Leadership is a deeply-interpersonal skill where we learn many of our leadership attributes and behaviors from those who led us.
There are three certainties in life. Ben Franklin spoke of two, death and taxes. The last is change. It is crucial for leaders today to be cognizant of the changes on their horizons. Shifts in markets, industries, economies, changes in consumer tastes, and supplier services can all have a significant effect on any business.
We have to make choices leaders, and in making right decisions, we should seek counsel from as many different sources as possible, both above and below. However, there is no shortage of lousy advice offered today.
One of my earlier lessons as an infantryman in the Army was the idea that "slow is smooth, smooth is fast." We first applied this while training our drills, especially entering and clearing a room. The idea behind this is that to be rapid, effective, and decisive, we have to have expert proficiency in every smaller task that goes into this drill. These more modest tasks only develop over time with deliberate effort and training.
Business today needs collaboration across multiple areas, proper collaboration requires open and honest feedback. However, as dynamics in an organization's environment grow, and relationships develop it can often become difficult to provide constructive criticism to peers and team members, especially if the feedback is negative.