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News article7 October 2022European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

What makes a great middle manager?

Middle managers work at the core of a company, acting as a bridge between employees and senior management. Here, we share some of the key skills and attributes that make a great middle manager.

What makes a great middle manager?

Excellent communication

Communication skills are essential for middle managers, as they are in regular contact with employees from across your company’s hierarchy, overseeing day-to-day operations and interacting with people from different departments. This means that they must be excellent at communicating through both verbal and written forms, including having the insight to adopt the appropriate communication style at the right time in order to achieve the best result.

Empathy towards colleagues

Good middle managers can be influential in shaping the culture of your company, particularly by helping to create a working environment where your employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns and opinions, and communicating relevant concerns or recommendations to senior management in a productive way. They play the role of facilitator, mediator and coach, and must be able to show empathy, understanding and support to the employees they manage – especially new starters and those facing increased workloads. Middle managers can exhibit empathy by offering support with professional development, and understanding when unexpected personal circumstances may affect employee performance. Simply taking time out of their day to listen with an empathetic ear can improve employee morale and relations, which in turn can foster a healthy working environment built on trust.

Leads from the front

A middle manager that exhibits strong leadership qualities can help motivate employees to succeed. This includes encouraging and fostering their individual professional development, as well as helping them contribute to achieving the overall strategic goals of the company. Middle managers often have numerous responsibilities and hold multiple leadership positions, meaning they also require good decision-making and delegation skills to be an effective leader.


Working in an ever-changing world means that middle managers must maintain an outward, innovative focus to ensure a company’s future success. Middle managers are involved in various aspects a company, they are more in tune with the day-to-day running of operations. An innovative outlook is essential so that they can conceptualise, suggest and set in motion new ideas that senior management may not have foreseen. In particular, middle managers who allow employees to take risks and encourage goal-orientated accomplishments can motivate and inspire employees to take a company to new heights and beyond.

Share our article on strengthening your soft skills to help your middle managers work more effectively.


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