Ascendis Blog

Assessing Leadership Skills for Middle Managers

Managers are critical members of any organizations. Middle managers, or frontline managers, maintain the day-to-day operations of the organization. Therefore, their ability to demonstrate leadership over self, teams and the business as a whole has a direct impact on performance toward goals. Therefore, awareness of leadership capabilities and opportunities to develop these skills need to be provided in order for middle managers to be able to perform as effectively as possible.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, middle managers need to be able to deliver on the following: 

  1. ​​The ability to hire well. “If a manager is not interviewing and selecting people well, he may be stuck with employees who don’t last or aren’t a good fit,” says Russ Elliot, founder of the Conscious Culture Group.
  2. Excellent communication skills. “The best managers consistently engage every direct report in ongoing one-on-one dialogue about the work that needs to be done by that person,” says Bruce Tulgan, author of The 27 Challenges Managers Face.
  3. The ability to delegate. It is ineffective and exhausting for a manager to try to do the work of every person who reports to him. “Sometimes it is difficult for managers to relinquish control,” says Barbara Moy, SHRM-CP, manager of people and culture at CaseWare International Inc.
  4. Performance management proficiency. “Middle managers must have the ability to hold people accountable and also provide them with encouragement and incentives,” says organizational consultant Melinda Stallings, SHRM-SCP.
  5. Collaboration skills. To be seen as team players, managers must be able to both lead people and work well with them, Stallings says.
  6. Solid decision-making skills. “Teach individuals how to problem-solve and weigh the probabilities and outcomes of pursuing a decision strategy with regard to the overall organizational strategy,” Stallings says.

What’s the best way to understanding the strengths (and development needs) of your middle managers? Introducing the Ascendis Leadership Academy’s Organization Skills Profile - here's what you need to know:

  • Allows your organization to determine its current needs for leadership
  • Helps leaders build a custom learning journey for their employees
  • Gain access to self-paced, online learning modules - Leading Self, Leading Other, Leading Organizations
  • Practice leadership challenges and provide solutions that can be applied instantly

Are you ready to offer the Organizational Leadership Skills Profile for your middle managers? Start by requesting more information from our founder, Sue Drake, at