If we’re in a corporate environment with a desk job, we often envision our career where we start off as a team member and then progress towards management positions. However, once we reach a mid-management position, the job asks us to manage a team while also being managed by a boss. Mid-management stress often presents difficulties within mental health.
In this post, we will explore why mid-management positions are prone to mental stress and how to overcome these challenges.
- Reasons Why Mid-Management Positions Are Stressful
- 5 Things To Try for Mid-Management Stress
- Embrace Your Career with Optimism
Reasons Why Mid-Management Positions Are Stressful
Mid-management positions face more stress from multiple directions and this can cause their mental health to deteriorate. Here are a few reasons why this happens.
You Feel Trapped Between Your Boss and Subordinates
As the word “mid” suggests, mid-management positions work through constantly feeling sandwiched between their boss and subordinates. Oftentimes, tasks under this condition can feel unpleasant.
For example, even if you visioned a great working environment for your subordinates that considered their mental well-being if the boss only valued productivity, you can’t direct a working environment that’s best for the workers. This kind of contradiction can create a lot of stress.
Your Position Requires Long Work Hours
Mid-managing positions like a general manager often require a person to multi-task several roles while managing a team. They’ve already made it up to this position by proving their worth, and they may have high standards to start off with. Work hours can extend incredibly long hours while they try to meet their own tasks and take care of subordinates at the same time. This kind of environment causes difficulties when it comes to mental health.
A university study concluded that when a person in a mid-management position worked for more than 10 hours a day, they felt 2.4 to 3 times more stress compared to an average worker with the same hours. Long work hours can cause all sorts of trouble in terms of lifestyle and sleep quality.
There Are Fewer People You Can Talk To
When a person enters a managing position, there are fewer people they can talk to. Their position makes it difficult to casually complain or talk to anyone (boss or subordinates) about work difficulties.
Many people who struggle through stress find it helpful when they can talk to someone. A person can start feeling mentally unwell when they feel like there is nowhere to turn to.
The Pressure Between Work and Family
By the time we reach a management position, some of us may also be managing our own families. A study from the University of Georgia concludes that quality time with family has benefits on the job for managers. There is a known link between great leadership and positive family interaction.
However, it can be difficult to balance quality time with family when the boss doesn’t understand the importance of family commitments, or the demands of the team never seem to end. As a manager, we naturally try to step up to the position, but sometimes the demands of the family and work conflict in a way that creates more stress.
5 Things To Try for Mid-Management Stress
If you’re under a lot of mid-management stress, the following activities may help you.
1. Seek Professional Help
If you struggle sharing your difficulties, we recommend that you seek professional help. Middle managers are known to carry a lot of stress. A professional therapist or counselor can be helpful in figuring out the core of your problems to improve your mental health.
An AI counseling app can further assist your mental wealth too. It can listen to your problems without any restrictions on time schedule, or location. It’s an affordable alternative counseling method with a free trial period. Give it a try!
2. Make Friends Outside of Work
It’s important to build relationships at work so that things go smoothly, but there’s a downside to this. If we only strengthening work relationships, our headspace can never escape the work environment. Therefore, we recommend making friends and joining communities outside of work.
It can be anything like a study or hobby group. A place where you can be yourself and have friends to talk to will help take away stress and improve your overall mental well-being. At the same time, if you could find friends in similar mid-management positions, there are opportunities to share and grow together.
3. Talk to Your Boss
We recommend that you try and talk to your boss if things are really tough. There’s a possibility that your skills and capabilities have nothing to do with the problems presented. It could be because there are not enough people on the team, or it could be a corporate structural issue. A talk with the boss can improve and change the working environment for the better of everyone.
Most likely, your boss has experienced a similar position as you. They could provide personal advice and insight for you to improve. Stop worrying about the negative consequences of speaking to your boss and try to seek advice with an open mind.
4. Understand That You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
Just because you’re in a management position doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with self-guilt, understand that there are strengths and weaknesses in everyone.
Skills and experience will grow as you go. Perfectionism can be harmful to your mental well-being. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses and don’t be too harsh on yourself.
5. Read Books That Inspire You
There are many business books that dabble on the topic of middle management. These books are an excellent way to gain insight into how to overcome some of the common challenges.
It doesn’t even have to be business books. Reading provides a temporary distance from our anxieties. It allows us to absorb knowledge and provides great comfort when we can’t fall asleep because of stress.
Embrace Your Career with Optimism
If you want to keep advancing in your career, there’s no way around going through a mid-management position. This position can get to you mentally if you’re not caring enough for your own mental health.
We hope that you can learn how to embrace this mid-management position as a stepping stone, and can hold an optimistic outlook on the career path you’re on!
MARUYAMA, S., KOHNO, K., & MORIMOTO, K. (1995). A Study of Preventive Medicine in Relation to Mental Health among Middle-management Employees (Part 2). Effects of Long Working Hours on Lifestyles, Perceived Stress and Working-life Satisfaction among White-collar Middle-management Employees. Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi (Japanese Journal of Hygiene), 50(4), 849–860. https://doi.org/10.1265/jjh.50.849
O’Connell, B. (2021, March 9). How Your Family Life Might Make You a Better Manager. SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/people-managers/pages/managing-workers-like-family-.aspx