1.4. Target Setting

The aim of this book is to find, describe and pass on the model that excellent middle managers consciously or unconsciously use. Our definition of excellent leadership helps us to focus our analyses and the NLP training provides us with the theoretical background and methodology to carry out the modelling of the selected middle managers. Later in the book, we talk about NLP, which has been the basis for modelling since the early 1970s.

In this book, modelling is the process of interviewing a number of people, identifying their unique outstanding leadership situations. We then delve deep into each great leadership situation and find the macro and micro strategies that make the difference. Finally, we put it all together into a model for the Outstanding Middle Manager.

In the book, we examine Danske Capital and Ballerup Psychiatric Centre. There will also be a chapter on the Outstanding Handball Leader from YDUN95. This is due to our definition of Outstanding Leadership, where it is crucial that we include an analysis where the middle manager’s results are indisputable. The handball team YDUN95 has a long list of Danish championships behind them and also became Nordic champions at the end of 2009.

The book concludes with a description of the common features of the Excellent Middle Manager as a role model for others and a subsequent perspective, as well as a proposal for a course in “The Excellent Middle Manager” and subsequent appendices.

What is unique about this book is that we focus on middle managers in specific workplaces and, not least, that – through our analysis – we identify the outstanding middle managers who achieve excellent results across industries.

1.5 Why another model?
There are several reasons why we are launching yet another model in the confusing and increasingly diluted leadership market.

Firstly, through our collaboration in our NLP Module 2 project, we found a simple and effective strategy for what the very best middle managers actually do in their day-to-day management of their employees. A strategy that makes the difference between success and mediocrity. And secondly, the majority of management literature today focuses on the role of the top manager.

We, on the other hand, focus on the middle manager – the first management level after the employee. “An overlooked breed”. We believe that the most important level of management in a company is the middle management level. This is where the foundation for the company’s performance is laid, for better or worse. The top manager is nothing in themselves. He or she is only something by virtue of his or her frontline employees and managers.

1.6 Who are we?
Erik Schwensen is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and has many years of experience with management in the Danish Defence. He currently runs the consultancy firm ES-Leadership and holds a Master of Public Administration from Copenhagen Business School.
Stig Brammer, has a master of economics from University of Copenhagen and is an officer in the Danish Army Reserve, has many years of experience in sales management in several financial companies such as Asset Management and Capital Markets. He is currently working as project manager and trouble shooter in Danske Bank Asset Management.