Chief's Blog

NI Fire & Rescue Service

Why Middle Managers Matter!

Why Middle Managers Matter!

Category: Management    Date: 9th March 2017       

Recently I’ve been struck by the unique role of middle managers. 

Often overlooked, they find themselves tasked with juggling the top team’s hopes and aspirations with the realities of meeting the needs of frontline staff.  It’s not an easy position to hold but I believe, and research has shown, that middle managers play a vital role in helping an organisation like ours reach its full potential. 

Why are they so important?  For a start, they are doers – they get things done.  They are the ones who translate the vision and strategy into smaller, achievable steps or day-to-day practices.  They show how the bigger picture impacts on their area of responsibility.  And it’s these daily activities that bring about real change.

They have influence over a wide range of employees – they have to create strong teams and motivate others to work together – so they need to be good communicators.  They have to build confidence and gain credibility in order to inspire and motivate people to do their best.

They personify and embody an organisation’s culture.  They are the ones who meet with staff face to face on a daily basis so the stories that shape an organisation are told through middle management.  The perception that most people have about ‘the management’ comes from their interaction with middle managers.

Within Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, our middle managers are our Group Commanders, Assistant Group Commanders, Station Commanders and PO grades of support staff.  We rely heavily on you to help us translate our strategic vision and convey the message to the wider teams.  You play a central role in helping us make change happen. 

Having been a middle manager for several years I know that it’s a very demanding role. That’s why I want to make sure that we are helping you as much as we can.

We want to support you as you develop your leadership and management skills so we’ve created a new Middle Management Development Programme in conjunction with the Health & Social Care (HSC) Leadership Centre.  I’m excited to report that the first two programmes will be starting in March and April.  

This new programme is in addition to the Operational Middle Manager Continuation Training Days which we deliver in-house. These training and learning days take place 3-4 times a year and cover a range of operational and management topics.  We frequently bring in external speakers and experts in their field to talk about fire and rescue service and general management issues.

The importance of middle managers cannot be underestimated.  That’s why we’re investing in you and ensuring you’re prepared for the roles you hold. Our priority, as an organisation, is to ensure that we are operating at our full potential to deliver the best service we can to the public. 

Best wishes,


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