The middle manager:strategic link of the company?

Interview with Isabelle Le Bouetté, founder of Ma Vie en Mieux firm specialising in coaching individuals in business Interview with Isabelle Le Bouëtté on her white paper on “Middle Managers.”

Why a White Paper on “middle managers”?

Middle or local managers are at the heart of the operation of a company: they relay the strategic orientations and constitute the daily link with the teams in the field. They often find themselves between a rock and a hard place… we have seen innovative practices emerge in our customers to better support them in their roles and attitudes. We felt it was important to share these new trends widely.

How did you come up with this White Paper?

This White Paper, conceived as a practical and inspiring tool, focuses on experiences in the field, with a direct and practical tone so that readers can easily get to grips with it. These subjects have to be anything but tedious!

What are the main difficulties faced by managers?

Managers are at the centre of a range of pressures and often find themselves having to square the circle alone. They sometimes have to make difficult choices between requirements and feasibility in the field. Often, their company asks them to develop their management style, to position themselves differently, to spend more time listening to and supporting their team. A change that can be seen as an additional challenge.

“Managers are at the centre of a range of pressures and often find themselves having to square the circle alone. They sometimes have to make difficult choices between requirements and feasibility in the field.”

Isabelle Le Bouëtté

What solutions are companies considering to support managers?

The White Paper details many experiences. Three of them seem to me particularly interesting and replicable in other contexts:

  • • The work of aligning three Thales Management Committees around a common history, bringing meaning in a context of strong organisational change. Low time investment for maximum impact.
  • • The implementation of “Individual coaching support packages” at Faurecia and SNCF Réseau, within which professional or personal topics are addressed. A form of democratisation of coaching in the belief that “a manager who feels better will be a better manager”.
  • • Equipping managers with the deployment of the platform WITTYFIT. This enabled them to create dialogue with their teams, to support the managers’ change of attitude (Storengy and Thales testimony) and to get all employees involved in the company’s transformation strategy.

What is the role of HR as regards these middle managers?

Today it is HR that is most acutely aware of the difficulties managers face. However, they will not be able to help them if they take a lofty position, in a parent-child relationship. It is via a coaching position that they will be able to change the nature of their relationship with the managers in the company and support them as best they can. And in this way become Business Partners.

What did you find most interesting about this White Paper?

What I found most interesting in building this White Paper was our awareness, with hindsight, of the common characteristics of the people we interviewed, aside from their immediate adherence to this project of course! So much so that we devoted our last chapter, entitled “The energy of pioneers”, to them.

What they have in common are strong personal convictions, a vision. They are generally patient and subscribe to taking small steps. They manage to change the status quo because they have detailed knowledge of their organisation, of the right timing. Last but not least, they are profoundly optimistic.

I can tell you, it’s a real pleasure to work with them!

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