The role senior managers play in linking resources and capabilities to strategy and competitive advantage.
Many value-adding concepts aren’t translated into reality because leadership falls short (Hsieh & Yik, 2005). Senior leadership can affect a strategy’s direction, path, and outcome (Hsieh & Yik, 2005). Senior Managers are influential in setting the tone and culture of how frontline and middle managers can add value (Carpenter & Sanders, 2008). Senior managers can encourage middle managers to be entrepreneurial they will see out external opportunities to find new ways to link resources and capabilities to strategies (Carpenter & Sanders, 2008). Also, senior managers can encourage middle managers to be capability-building so they can identify, grow, and protect new ways to add value (Carpenter & Sanders, 2008). Lastly, senior managers can challenge an organization to renew its ways of operating (Carpenter & Sanders, 2008). Senior leaders are also responsible for identifying high-potential, mid-level workers who are potential leaders and develop them with the aforementioned capabilities (Dalton, 2015). To identify and find future leaders, senior managers should look for individuals that have high interest and commitment in the organization, job and team has a good track record of success and has good relationships with vendors, customers, co-workers and bosses (Dalton, 2015). By developing individuals into leaders that look to add value to the company, an organization can shorten the leadership gap and have a better chance of continuously sustaining a competitive position. The director of operations at my company holds leadership meetings with all the middle managers and team leads. In these meetings, he encourages and empowers middle managers to find better ways to utilize resources and capabilities so that we can continuously push to outperform our competitors.
Reasons why middle managers are better positioned than senior managers to bring about strategic success.
Middle managers are closer than senior managers to day-to-day operations, customers, and frontline employees (Ahearne, Lam, & Kraus, 2013). Also, middle managers are still far enough away from frontline work that they can understand the big picture (Ahearne, Lam, & Kraus, 2013). Being said, middle managers should have a better intuition on operations, therefore, they can conceive, suggest, and set in motion new ideas that senior managers haven’t thought of (Ahearne, Lam, & Kraus, 2013). In terms of strategic implementation, Ikavalko and Aaltonen (2001) describe that middle manager has better visibility into the ground level problems than the managers. Furthermore, Ikavalko and Aaltonen (2001) note that middle managers are the individuals that face the problems of resources and also the problem of really understanding the strategies and adapting them to the daily actions. The senior managers in my company routinely ask middle managers for input when deciding on a strategic change because the middle managers are the individuals that have viability on day-to-day activities as well as valuable input on ways to implement the strategies.
Ahearne, M., Lam, S. K., & Kraus, F. (2013, April 2). Performance Impact of Middle Managers’ Adaptive Strategy Implementation: The Role of Social Capital. Strategic Management Journal, 35(1), 68-87.
Carpenter, M. A., & Sanders, W. M. (2008). Strategic Management: A Dynamic Perspective – Integrated StraitSim Simulation Experience. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Dalton, P. (2015, January 18). The Leadership Gap. ABA Bankers News, 13(2), 1-2.
Hsieh, T., & Yik, S. (2005). Leadership as the Starting Point of Strategy. Mckinsey Quarterly(1).
Ikavalko, H., & Aaltonen, P. (2001, July 5). Middle Managers’ Role in Strategy Implementation – Middle Managers View. Retrieved from Cite Seer X: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=…