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Middle Manager Leadership Learning Framework

This framework supports the leadership learning of middle managers. It was commissioned by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) in response to requests from the social service sector to develop a learning framework for those in middle management positions. The project involved working with the sector to clarify the role of middle managers and identify their leadership learning needs.

Central to the framework are two key areas of learning:

  • keeping people who use services at the centre
  • self-leadership, integrity and personal effectiveness.

These are qualities, capacities and principles which underpin the middle management role regardless of organisational context. There are seven other areas of leadership learning designed to encompass the broad range of tasks which middle managers undertake. None of the areas are more important than others. An individual’s leadership learning might address all areas included in the framework or it might be more selective.

The framework has been represented as a fan diagram which incorporates operational tasks and strategic overview. The framework is designed to be flexible and can be used as part of self-directed learning or incorporated into organisations’ own learning and development programmes. A blended approach to delivering this learning is likely to be the most effective, for example mixing online and self-directed learning with face-to-face discussion with others.

Open Badges are digital certificates which recognise learning and achievement and have been developed to support this framework. If you can demonstrate that you’ve learned from the framework and have put your learning into practice, you will be able to earn an Open Badge for each of the nine areas of learning. More information and relevant links can be found within each of the nine areas. In addition, an Open Badge is available for completion of the leadership capability feedback tool found within this middle manager leadership learning framework.

To explore the resources for each area of learning, click on a relevant section of the diagram below.

Capabilities Leading, managing and developing people Planning and resource management Leading and managing across boundaries Managing risk and uncertainty Leading and managing change Quality assurance, improvement and performance management Strategic vision and direction Keeping people who use services at the centre Self-leadership, integrity and personal effectiveness

"Middle managers hold a critical position in regard to change and innovation."

(Middle Managers in Scotland’s Social Services: Leadership Learning Pathway, University of Stirling, 2015)

"Middle managers were strongly motivated to pursue learning for its own sake and not merely to meet organisational requirements or for career development."

(Middle Managers in Scotland’s Social Services: Leadership Learning Pathway, University of Stirling, 2015)