Re-empowering middle management

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cdmmunityCompanies have been experiencing big troubles with their middle management for years. The reason is quite simple: they had to do with a middle management which was disconnected from the field.

They now seem to have learned from that, adopting a new kind of management. As says Auchan (french leading supermarket chain) HR director, “it’s time to get out of a management based on contract, control and pressure to institute confidence, support and self discipline”.

I totally agree with that, as it also concerns the definiton of a manager. In a context where you have to manage distant teams, not being able to meet them and be by their side, controling them all day long, the manager is not a controler anymore but a community leader.

Empowering such a management is the recognition of the importance of communities of interest and communities of practices in the organization. The belief that you can manage to whole organization as a sole community is a nonsense and more and more companies are beginning to acknowledge it, reconsidering manager’s role and providing them with the tools they need to lead their communities.

New procedures, new social practices, community driven intranets…the new challenge is now the adoption of all that as, although change is seen as necessary, it’s a radical change in the way people are considered and empowered by the companies that hire them.

On the way to enterprise 2.0…?