Between a Managerial Rock and a Hard Place


Work can be tough for middle managers. They are literally between a rock and a hard place. Your everyday middle manager has a team reporting to them and she also has her own boss.  Neither of which make the best conversation partners when it comes to a workplace confidant.

While many offices have an open door policy, that doesn’t mean all types of conversations should be occurring between the ranks of employees.  Managers must maintain a level of loyalty to leadership in their words and behaviors. Managers must display to their employees a united front between them and senior leadership and the company as a whole. Elizabeth Shassere says this boils down to maintaining loyalty, integrity and honesty:

Managers are often between a rock and  a hard place

“...If anyone has a problem with me, a teammate, a decision, or action is taken, it is fair to bring it up constructively (preferably with an alternative or a solution to follow) but privately.”

Elizabeth Shassere

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This is all the more difficult for first time managers. Especially for those now leading former co-workers.  That new manager is no longer able to have the same level of chit chat with any individual contributors about work.  The pool of compatriots narrows significantly.  

This means less people to complain to, question strategy with, share frustrations about.  They’re there, but for less accessible than your former co-workers were and still are.

Let’s try and keep this in mind. Managers are caught in a tough spot.  A spot that might literally be between a rock and a hard place. Rock (their boss) and a hard place (their employees). Be kind.