The Crisis of Middle Management

While they carry a great deal of responsibility in the workplace, middle managers aren’t overly thrilled about it. In fact, research indicates that middle managers are the unhappiest employees in today’s workplace. What’s more, this result isn’t by a slim majority – they consistently feel far less content than their subordinates and superiors.

So, what is it about these employees that makes them so profoundly blue? Well, it turns out that there are a number of reasons why they feel this way.

Identity Crisis

Employees may feel disengaged for myriad reasons; however, having a lack of direction is one of the main reasons that they do. This is especially true for the middle manager. Often, their roles are poorly defined, which leads to frustration. Not only are they unsure of what is expected of them, but they are also unsure of how far their authority extends. As a result, they may worry about overstepping their boundaries and taking their roles too far. Alternatively, they may feel they aren’t practicing enough authority, because they don’t feel fully confident in doing so.

Lack of Respect

Middle managers consistently report feeling undervalued and overworked. They often feel they take on far more responsibilities than other employees, and not only their subordinates.

First, they have to manage subordinates, and there are usually many of them. At the same time, they feel pressure from their superiors to meet targets or deadlines. They may feel such intense pressure to meet these expectations that they’ll put in a great deal of extra work. And, this work may go partially or completely unnoticed. In addition, middle managers are expected to enforce particular rules and codes of conduct; they may even be expected to punish subordinates for breaking them. Yet, they usually don’t create these rules, and they often don’t agree with them. Even worse, it characterizes them as the office ‘bad guys.’

The Accidental Leader

Not everyone is cut out for leadership roles. At times, the added responsibility proves too stressful, which may lead to employee burnout. Ultimately, employers should select leaders that will thrive in leadership positions; however, this isn’t always an easy task.

For one thing, even the hardest-working employee may not make the best leader. While exceptional leaders may possess a strong work ethic, this isn’t the only measure of the ideal candidate. In order to select the ideal hire for a management role, employers should perform a psychometric test. These tests measure how compatible an individual’s personality and cognitive capabilities are for a given role. A job fit assessment will reduce employee turnover and ensure the ideal prospect is chosen for leadership.