Matrix Leadership Training

The critical role of senior leaders and middle managers.

Senior leaders and matrix managers’ behaviours make the difference between success and failure in a matrix implementation. How they communicate and support the structure, and model the new behaviours, is critical.

Depending on the complexity of your organization structure, you may be faced with different levels of complexity, from working across functions within a country, right up to leading a fully integrated global matrix with dual reporting lines and the additional challenges of time zones, cultures and multiple business units.


Leadership training

"Matrix leadershipGlobal Integration has developed a range of training modules covering the key skills that senior leaders and middle managers need to run complex organizations. We can, therefore, rapidly tailor a program that meets your specific needs based on our existing intellectual property (IP) and experience in hundreds of other organizations around the world.

Senior matrix leadership training

Right at the top of organizations are the senior leaders, what we sometimes call the “Global Group”. They tend to report to the CEO or head major functions, regions and business units. They tend not to have multiple bosses themselves but have people working for them who do.

The impact for this senior leadership group personally is less significant than further down the organization, so there can be a tendency to underestimate the change that the matrix brings to the people below them in the structure. The support, modeling and behaviours of these senior matrix leaders is absolutely critical to successful matrix implementation and operation. 

Our leadership training focuses on the leader’s critical role in:

  • creating and communicating a clear set of goals and direction;
  • demystifying the structure by ensuring people understand why and how it will work;
  • aligning structure, systems and skills to the new strategy;
  • acting as matrix guardians to fine tune and evolve the structure and way of working;
  • dealing with legacy systems and power structures that may obstruct the new way of working;
  • modeling and sponsoring the new leadership behaviours they want to see;
  • ensuring the development of the ‘soft structure’ – the networks, communities, teams and groups needed for success;
  • making sure that the ‘matrix middle’ – the management tier most affected by the change (see below) –  has the capability, confidence and support to do their jobs without high levels of escalation;
  • building an environment that enables the right balance of trust and control for their business.
  • creating a culture, mindset and skill set for success

Global Integration brings new ideas, process tools and facilitation, combined with learning from other organizations, to stimulate senior leaders’ thinking and help them find the right solution for their own business.

We can also run workshops to help senior leaders think through where the matrix really adds value and to understand their own role in this new way of working.

The ‘matrix middle’

We often say that the matrix is ‘led from the middle’: this is because the complex dilemmas caused at the intersection of multiple reporting lines have to be managed by this middle management group.

The matrix middle is usually the two or three layers below the senior leadership group (above). They are the group that are most impacted by this different way of working. Many of them are new to working through influence without authority or being accountable for results where they no longer directly control the resources they rely upon.

Global Integration’s management and leadership training for these managers often focuses on:

  • creating goal and role clarity for their people and aligning their goals with others;
  • managing complex, competing goals – difficult choices, trade-offs, daily dilemmas and higher levels of conflict;
  • setting up and engaging a purposeful network to get things done;
  • dealing with higher levels of connection without creating unnecessary meetings, communication and control – staying both connected, and effective;
  • establishing decentralized control, trust and empowerment with people they may rarely meet face-to-face;
  • building new sources of influence that don’t rely on authority, and managing accountability without control;
  • creating engaging and participative communication, both face-to-face and when working through technology;
  • leading teams and departments to overcome the barriers of distance, cultures, time zones and organizational complexity;
  • Being one of ‘multiple bosses’ – learning to be a matrix performance manager.

We need to ensure that these matrix middle managers have the capability and confidence to deal with these issues. If we don’t give them the information, skills and authority to manage these things themselves, we will experience high levels of escalation, delay and dissatisfaction with the waste, unnecessary cost and loss of talent that this often entails.

The matrix is a web you can get caught in, or a network you can use to get things done, it all depends on your mindset and skills.

Senior Vice President, Consumer Goods.


Why not…..?

  • Contact us to find out more or discuss your specific needs.
  • Join our ‘LinkedIn ‘matrix management’ group to join the conversation and share ideas with others interested in this field.

There is a handy form on the right of this page (on most devices) to request more information or to contact our closest office to speak to a specialist. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs.

Newell Rubbermaid

Read our case study: Newell Rubbermaid


Read our case study: Novartis

 Global Integration
Last updated July 2014

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