Leadership Skills For Savvy Middle Managers, Part 1 - February 1, 2018

Mid-level managers are critical to businesses because they tend to bring both strategic thinking and roll-up-your-sleeves productivity. Middle managers are also the bench strength of many businesses because they are up-and-coming leaders, so it's important for companies to invest in their development.

According to business authors Karin Hurt and David Dye, two ways companies can deliver strategic support to mid-level managers is to apply the steps behind these straightforward acronyms—P.E.R.S.U.A.D.E. and I.N.S.P.I.R.E.—as we'll explain today and tomorrow in Promotional Consultant Today.

P.E.R.S.U.A.D.E. This model helps mid-level managers effectively manage their bosses, even when they don't agree with them:

P: Private. When you adamantly disagree with your boss, do so in private. Don't confront him in front of your team, his team, your peers or his peers. Take it offline.

E: Emotion. Let your passion inspire your argument instead of detracting from it. Keep calm while appealing to your boss's heart and mind. Overly emotional appeals will weaken your argument. If you want to use a story to illustrate your point, really think it through first. Don't wear your heart on your sleeve.

R: Research. Do your homework, prepare for questions and do the math. Then do more math your boss's way. Poke holes in your own argument before you meet with your boss. If your boss is more persuaded by stories than math, collect plenty of compelling ones. But, do the math, just in case.

S: Share. Be frank in sharing your concern. Don't beat around the bush or waste your boss's time. Speak your truth with courage. Share why you're concerned for the business. Be equipped with a solid line of reasoning and several supporting points.

U: Understand. Once you've made your point, ask for your boss's feedback and listen carefully. The boss is likely to have a broader perspective with deeper context. Learn as much as you can from your boss. Hear him or her out completely, and suspend judgment.

A: Acknowledge. Appreciate your boss's point of view. They have pressures, too. Acknowledge them and understand them. Again, learn all you can. Consider your argument in the context within which your boss is hearing it.

D: Data. If you're still convinced your solution is better, bring on the data. Build graphs. Draw pictures. Gather more stories. Benchmark against the best.

E: Engage. Engage your supporting team. Seek out a partner in finance. Convince key (pragmatic) partners to care about your point of view. Get a slight but steady current of whispers ready to support your cause in their own words.

Read PCT tomorrow to learn the other key model for savvy middle managers: I.N.S.P.I.R.E.

Source: Karin Hurt and David Dye are the award-winning authors of Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul. Hurt is a top leadership consultant and CEO of Let's Grow Leaders. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she was named to Inc. magazine's list of great leadership speakers. Dye is a former executive and elected official, and is president of Trailblaze, Inc., a leadership training and consulting firm.

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