A 360 Portrait of Middle Managers

Are your future leaders empowered to lead and drive impact?

Did you know?

A recent survey showed that middle managers are spending less than a third of their time on people management.

Source: McKinsey Global Survey on 700+ Middle Managers, 2022

In this new world of work—where change and volatility will likely prevail in the foreseeable future—middle managers face a growing pressure to deliver in flatter, faster, and leaner organizational structures.

They are indeed
mission-critical in helping people and workplaces thrive.

Middle managers play an important role in executing talent & business strategy.

To better understand their operational and developmental context, we analyzed the 360 feedback reports of 3000+ Middle Managers across 80+ organizations from various industries.

Here’s what we found out:

How are Middle Managers perceived by their Stakeholders on different Competencies?

Distribution of Middle Managers across Key Competencies basis 360 Feedback Scores

Across competencies, there is a huge opportunity for improvement for middle managers.

If it can be addressed through focused development planning and actions, its effect can cascade throughout the organization.

Here are a few additional insights:

Collaborating with Peers

Most Middle Managers excel at establishing strong relationships with their stakeholders. However, our data indicates that collaborating with peers can pose a greater challenge for some.

As per our findings, 40% of participants received lower ratings for the competency of 'Relationship Building' from their peers compared to the ratings they received from their managers. 

Meeting their Managers' Expectations

Traditionally, people find it difficult to meet the expectations of their bosses. But this is not the case for Middle Managers. They have learned to manage up or keep the boss happy.

For 84% of participants, their managers scored them average or above average on all competencies.

Potential Blind Spots

Middle managers often want to feel good about their work and their capabilities. Our data suggests that most Middle Managers have Potential Blind Spots across competencies.

In 96% of cases, the self-score of the participant was higher than the average score of others by more than 0.5.

Now how can Organizations empower their Future Leaders?

Middle managers have mastered the art of acting as the filter and translator between the executive suite and the front line.

But there’s more to their role both on the strategy side and the people side. Organizations can support them by:

Ensuring that your organization has a clear statement of purpose that aligns with the managers’ purpose.

Enabling them to see beyond the obvious by exposing them to new experiences and challenges.

Giving the time and authority to focus on their people.

Supporting managers who are stuck spending time on planning and lower-value tasks to shift their focus toward higher-priority talent needs.


  • Data was collected via Think Talent’s proprietary 360° Feedback Survey tool, used during multiple managerial talent development programs over a span of three years across the Indian subcontinent.
  • The tool is used to gather and provide managers with structured feedback regarding their proficiency in the competencies covered in the survey.

One Solution for all your
360-degree Feedback needs

More Resources

Find out how we helped an Insurance Giant to scale up its 360° feedback program using our proprietary 360-feedback platform.

Find out the latest insights based on our in-depth analysis of the 360 feedback reports of 3000+ Managers across industries. You will get a glimpse on how middle managers are perceived by their stakeholders on different competencies.

Learn how we enabled a Leading Digital Payments Company to customize 360° surveys for the development of their top 100 Leaders.

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