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  • Writer's pictureshiv kumar

The woes of being stuck in the middle!

“The staff toilet is blocked; please get a plumber to fix it.”

“One of the guys in the warehouse was not wearing a hard hat! Can we have a meeting about this NOW?”

“Big boss from head office is visiting this morning; clear all the excess stock in the yard and get the store tidied up.”

“Need an immediate stocktake done.”

The above requests/instructions are actual samples taken from my own experience as a “manager in the middle”!

I often found myself having to tackle emergency challenges with hardly any advance notice, little to no support for organizing immediate action, and tons of pressure to get the problem resolved.

Middle managers are literally “in the middle of everything” – in the eye of the storm, constantly putting out fires while being in and out of meetings!

Being a middle manager can feel like being in the middle seat of an aircraft – squeezed from both sides between the people you manage and the people you report to!

As a middle manager, you’re not senior enough to enjoy the full benefits of the corporate gravy train and not junior enough to be free from major responsibilities.

The middle manager has to wear many hats – administrator, leader, motivator, coach, friend, yes-man (or woman!!). And that can be exhausting!

Often saddled with massive responsibility but having limited authority, you are expected to handle day-to-day issues and be hands-on, while also dealing with the bigger picture of staff morale, overall productivity, target achievement, performance management, and loads more!

Is it any wonder that a survey of over 22,000 full-time workers conducted by researchers at Columbia University found that middle managers suffered from the highest rates of depression?

What are your feelings as a middle manager?

(a) Do you feel valued and appreciated for all that you do to keep the wheels of your operation turning? OR (b) Do you feel like you’re taken for granted and don’t get noticed for your efforts?

(a) Do you feel like senior management has got your back? OR (b) Do you wish your bosses were more empathetic to your situation?

(a) Do you feel that you’re comfortable with setting boundaries and delegating work? OR (b) Do you find yourself falling into the people-pleasing trap, taking on too much, and getting overwhelmed?

(a) Do you have non-judgemental and confidential support that you can lean on when you feel stressed out? OR (b) Do you wish you had someone who could act as your sounding board when you sorely needed one – an experienced, trustworthy, and confidential ally, so you could discuss your challenges in a safe environment and come up with solutions?

If your answers to the above questions align with the (b) option, please know that you don’t have to suffer in isolation.

I help middle management executives overcome stagnation, uncertainty, and frustration so they can rock the second half of their careers.

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