Middle Managers Feeling the Squeeze

Last Updated Nov 17, 2008 8:27 AM EST

  • Do you feel like this at work?The Find: A recent survey of US middle managers found that nearly two thirds felt the downturn was having a negative impact on their work environment, while less than half said they were satisfied with their job.
  • The Source: The U.S. portion of Accenture's global survey of middle managers.
The Takeaway: The plight of the middle manager is well known: squeezed between the demands of the higher ups and the realities on the ground, they face the constant threat of becoming trapped in a career holding pattern. And this is the reality even in a healthy economy.

With the downturn starting to bite, middle managers are feeling even more of a pinch, at least if a recent survey is to be believed. Accenture polled 322 middle managers in the U.S. in September as part of a global study of more than 2,600 mid-level bosses. The resulting statistics are less than cheerful:

  • 61 percent said that employees are concerned about losing their jobs or that morale is down.
  • 53 percent said they are dissatisfied or only somewhat satisfied with their jobs.
  • 27 percent are taking steps to improve the security of their jobs, such as working harder or longer hours.
  • 68 percent believe that their companies could do more to help employees cope with the weak economy.
Taken together these numbers paint a fairly bleak picture of anxious middle managers struggling to cope with the demands of their jobs and their employees with limited resources to help them boost morale. Sound familiar?

The Question: What can middle managers do to help their teams (and themselves) cope?

(Image of woman squeezing into a box by gingiber, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.