Middle management can be tough. The pressure and complexity can lower our management immunity and we become more prone to disease. Here are the most common diseases of middle management.
1: Managerial Amnesia
When it comes to amnesia sufferers, middle managers outnumber soap opera stars. Managerial Amnesia causes the manager to be unclear about what they are supposed to do and how they should act. Others may describe them as being in over their heads or say that they just don’t get it. Managers with this disease are in some way not fully taking on the role of middle manager. Sometimes, the manager knows better but has chosen to behave differently. In other cases, the manager is unaware, unclear, or does not understand what is expected of him or her.
2: Enlarged Ego Syndrome
The ego can be a best friend or a worst enemy, depending on the situation. Middle managers must have a strong and healthy ego in order to lead. Enlarged Ego Syndrome occurs when the ego produces ideas and thoughts that do not serve the manager’s goals.
3: Blurry Vision
Many hard working managers lead their teams in the wrong direction! As a consequence, team members spend their time on tasks that are not fruitful. What’s worse is that others in the organization are watching this happen. Is this a case of Blurry Vision? Probably. The symptoms of Blurry Vision include an inability to discern company expectations, current performance levels, and appropriate goals.
4: Productivity Blockages
Many middle managers think that working longer, harder, and faster is how they will get more work completed, but this is often not the case. Average middle managers work too many hours and do not put a dent in their “to-do” lists. They suffer from Productivity Blockages that get in the way of progress and lead to discomfort within the team. So many barriers exist in the average workplace that Productivity Blockages afflict most middle managers.
5: Performance Management Phobia
“Management would be easy if it weren’t for the people issues.” “I haven’t accomplished a thing all day because of all the personnel stuff I have had to do.” “I hate doing performance evaluations; they are a waste of time. Even my best employees dread them.” Performance Management Phobia strikes many middle managers. The affliction is diagnosed when the fear and discomfort of managing employees gets in the way of the manager’s responsibility to create an environment of high performance. Performance Management Phobia can result in either the avoidance or bungling of performance conversations.
6: Process Paralysis
Processes can quickly become outdated and irrelevant in today’s changing business environment. Diagnosed when processes no longer support the goals of the function or its workers, Process Paralysis affects many workplaces.
7: Hard of Hearing
All middle managers are Hard of Hearing at some point in time. We hear only what we want to. We pick up on information that interests us, while other messages are conveniently ignored. The information to which we don’t pay attention is often that which could be most helpful to us. The Hard of Hearing disease reduces and filters the number of ideas that are considered and gets in the way of improving results.
Over the next two weeks, I will explore each Middle Management Disease in greater detail, offering ways to diagnose and treat each ailment.
How are you feeling today? A little woozy? Take two doughnuts, slurp a latte, and inoculate yourself with a meaty project. :-)