Is It Difficult Being a Middle Manager?

Asking our headline question about being a middle manager is something akin to asking if the sun is hot.

Middle managers take heat from the people below them and the people above. I was reminded of that last week when, a day after doing a reasonably good job in my first speaking engagement for my new job, I returned to the office only to hear from senior managers how behind schedule my team was in everything it was doing for May while hearing later in the day from my team how senior management didn’t understand what it was asking for and had simply imposed a lot of changes without asking them what they wanted (which, unfortunately was to keep everything exactly as they had known it).

Being a middle manager is like trying to wrestle a big fish into the boat...while someone is tossing you over the side.

That was a long sentence that reflects the frustration I felt at the end of that day. It’s at times like that when you realize that a manager, much as he or she would like to be friendly with staff, is still a manager who sometimes has to make the hard calls and say, meet your deadlines, or work harder, or just suck it up and get it done.

I’m afraid no matter what business or industry you’re in, that doesn’t change. So remember, when you’re just starting out and waiting for the day you get promoted out of the ranks to be a manager, be careful what you wish for.

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