Managing from the Middle: The Art of Influencing Up, Down, and Sideways

leadership development workshop

📆 16 August 2024

Managing from the middle: The art of influencing up, down and sideways

Welcome to “Managing in the middle: The art of influencing up, down, and sideways,” an immersive workshop that delves into the complexities and pressures of managing in the middle of organisations.

In today’s dynamic and fast-paced business environment, organisational life has become increasingly complex. Managers find themselves at the intersection of various roles, responsibilities, and expectations, creating complexity, and the pressure of constant challenges. Navigating the demands of overwhelmed executives, overburdened workers, dissatisfied customers, and fellow harried people managers can be overwhelming. This workshop is designed to help you deal with feeling stuck in the middle, learning how to influence up, down and across your organisation.

At the completion of this full-day workshop you will:

  • understand power dynamics and leadership challenges, enhancing collaboration skills for managing the middle
  • identify opportunities for influence from the perspective of managing the middle and navigating tensions between organisational layers
  • visualise and analyse power networks within and beyond the organisation, identifying potential collaborators and impact areas for managing more effectively
  • apply insights to address current management dilemmas, developing practical strategies for more influence in managing the middle.

What’s included in this one-day workshop?

Experiential learning in a ‘Uppers, middles and lowers’ exercise, based on the work of Barry Oshry (2007), gives you valuable insights into the practical and emotional experiences of roles in a hierarchy. By understanding the dynamics at play and how to influence, you are equipped to interact effectively and navigate the complexities with more confidence.

The workshop also incorporates a seminar on the dynamics of managing in the middle of organisations, as well as a ‘network mapping’ exercise, enabling you to visualise the networks of power and influence within and beyond your organisation. This exercise helps you locate yourself, grasp the interconnectedness of roles, identify opportunities for collaboration, and take a networked approach to managing effectively in and from the middle.

The combination of experiential learning and theoretical frameworks delivers practical insights, tools, and strategies to navigate the complexities of hierarchies, interact effectively, and take a networked approach to managing in and from the middle.

“I found the ‘Uppers, middles and lowers‘ exercise so powerful. It revealed the emotional nuances of each level, which gave me profound insights into my own and others’ experiences back in my workplace”

– Cameron Brooks, Leadership Consultant

“The ‘Uppers, Middles, Lowers‘ exercise transformed my perspective on collaboration and hierarchy – a game-changer!”

– Susan Campbell, Associate Executive Director

Who should attend this immersive workshop?

This workshop is designed for managers seeking to increase their influence and become effective agents of change in their organisations. This includes managers of people and operations. If you value practical frameworks and experiential learning with others to gain a deeper understanding of workplace, this workshop is for you. Expect to come away with actionable strategies for managing up, leading your teams, and building strong networks of peers in the middle.

Join us in ‘Managing from the middle: The art of influencing up, down, and sideways’ to unlock your potential, overcome the frustrations of middle management, and navigate the complexities of organisational life with skill and confidence. Embrace this opportunity to excel as a manager in the middle and make a lasting impact within your organisation.

The art of influencing up, down & sideways









Friday 16 August


9.30 am – 4.30 pm

💷  For only

AUD $970

$850 per person limited-time offer until June 30!

Three or more participants from the same organisation for $825 $700 each (limited time offer until June 30!)

Email Helen to find out more about our 7 or more place packages, custom-designed to suit your organisation’s needs.


Melbourne CBD
Morning tea & lunch provided

All workshops are available for on-site delivery, and the potential for a hybrid format can be discussed.

Managing from the Middle: The Art of Influencing Up, Down, and Sideways

leadership development workshop with the following:

Ms Helen McKelvie

Helen McKelvie

Helen has had over 25 years of working in organisations to inform her approach to helping others gain insights into how they take up roles and how to achieve greater alignment with individual, team and organisational purpose. Her own roles as internal planning consultant, policy and project manager, and lawyer in workplaces in both the public and private sectors have provided her with first-hand experience of the complexity and challenges of organisational life.

Helen is an alumnus and now teaches in the Master’s program at the National Institute of Organisation Dynamics Australia (NIODA). She also has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne. In addition to her academic qualifications, Helen is an accredited practitioner of PRISM Brain Mapping, an online, neuroscience-based behaviour mapping instrument, and is a registered Analytic-Network Coach. Helen also has training and experience in workplace mediation and yoga teaching qualifications.

Mr Thomas Mitchell

Thomas Mitchell

Over the last several years Thomas has enhanced his extensive professional experience by learning from, and working with, leaders across the executive coaching, group dynamics, and systems psychodynamics fields. A graduate of the NIODA Master of Leadership and Management – Organisation Dynamics, Thomas combines a deep understanding of working in large organisations with a passion for supporting others as they work toward achieving their goals and gaining a deeper awareness of their actions and drivers. Highly skilled in creating a safe environment to support participants explore their roles, Thomas manages the balance between empathy and candour allowing participants to feel secure whilst having their assumptions challenged.






The National Institute of Organisation Dynamics Australia (NIODA) offers internationally renowned post-graduate education and research in organisation dynamics, and decades of experience consulting with Australian organisations. 

The study of organisation dynamics brings together socio-technical and psychoanalytic disciplines to explore the unconscious dynamics that exist in every group, team or organisation. Learning more about these theories, and reflecting on the experience of them, can support leaders and managers to unlock great potential in their organisations, tackling issues through a whole new light.

PO Box 287, Collins Street West,
Melbourne  8007  Australia
+61 (0) 414 529 867

NIODA acknowledges the Kulin Nations, and respective Traditional Custodians of the lands we work on.
We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and recognise their enduring sovereignty which has, and continues to, care for Country.
NIODA welcomes the Uluru Statement from the Heart’s invitation to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a collective movement for a better future.

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