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Business podcast discussing middle management returns

A successful business podcast that invites senior managers from a broad range of leading companies to share their insights has returned for its third series.

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Business podcast discussing middle management returns

A successful business podcast that invites senior managers from a broad range of leading companies to share their insights has returned for its third series.

A business podcast that resonates

The Middle launched in 2019 and is hosted by Stephen Willson, an Associate Professor at Birmingham City University.

Stephen boasts over 20 years’ experience in freelance management training, working with highly established organisations such as Greene King, Michelin and Balfour Beatty.

Each episode of The Middle features an interview with a prominent executive. Previous guests over the past two seasons have come from organisations including West Midlands Police, Deutsche Bank, Carluccio’s and Worcester-Bosch.

“The topic appears to be resonating with a growing and loyal audience,” says Stephen. “Plus, the challenges raised in the 23 executive interviews in the series suggest that there is still plenty of room for improvement.”

New challenges for middle managers  

Series One and Two of The Middle highlighted how important it is for middle managers to engage with the progression of issues resulting from their developing seniority.

Series Three continues with identifying the evolving themes and approaches to make sense of these demanding roles.

In particular, it throws focus on the challenges facing unit managing directors who are simultaneously middle managers in their wider organisations.

When it came to talking to managers for series three of the business podcast, Stephen found that the recent Covid-19 has provided new challenges for middle managers.

“Covid has diminished the opportunities for chance encounters, where managers could build a rapport and deal with sensitive topics, which is not readily done virtually,” Stephen explains.

Other topics discussed include the role of the office and how it should be utilised moving forward.

“Middle managers are facing issues of overcoming staff feeling isolated or disconnected from the organisation,” Stephen says.

“How do you design jobs that balance staff days at home to avoid wasteful commuting yet still achieves motivation and goal alignment?”

Engaging discussions with senior managers

Series Three of The Middle sees Stephen speak to Tony Taylor, the managing director of Gibbs and Dandy, a unit of French multi-national organisation Saint-Gobain.

In the business podcast, they explore the issues of working on two fronts in a distribution business – the first being making multiple small internal operational improvements, the second being accessing resources from their bosses and managing boundaries.

As the way people work continues to change and evolve, Stephen feels there is plenty of engaging discussions to come.

“Transferring communications to MS Teams and Zoom have pitched middle managers into unchartered territory,” Stephen explains.

“Further challenges have arisen in sectors that were hitherto overwhelmed with job applications.

“Robust person-management is less likely to be tolerated in sectors such as hospitality and truck driving. Increasingly employees are prepared to leave such industries having become all too aware of the sacrifices they make in antisocial hours and poor facilities.”

In a previous interview with BCU Advantage, Stephen described the podcast as being ideal for businesses looking to expand.

Those looking to grow should be aware of the challenges they’ll face when they look to hire or promote into roles as managers of managers,” he says.

“This should help them configure their organisations, so they can get the greatest contribution from these key positions.”


We would like to thank Stephen for taking time out of his busy schedule to discuss his involvement with The Middle Podcast, and how the insights shared can be adopted by business leaders across the board to heighten success. We look forward to the rest of Season 3 and hopefully more episodes in the near future.

You can access and listen to all episodes of The Middle Podcast, free of charge, on the BCU Advantage website.

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