We all experience stress. It is simply part of life. At times moderate level of stress can in fact motivate us and be healthy, though stress over long periods of time can be detrimental to one’s health in the workplace and at home. Stress in the workplace has become a popular topic and a recent study out of England involving monkeys tells us that middle management carries the largest burden, more so then upper management and more so then the average employee.
The study, performed by Katie Edwards of Liverpool’s Institute of Integrative Biology, entailed monitoring a group of monkeys stress hormones. The experiment resulted in findings that showed monkeys from the middle of the hierarchy not only had the highest stress hormone levels, but also were involved in the most conflict as opposed to those above and below them. The monkeys below them tended to distance themselves from confrontation while the middle ranked monkeys were more likely to challenge, and be challenged by those above them on the hierarchal scale.
This study proposes an interesting question. What is it about middle management that makes it more or less stressful then other positions? When considering this study, middle management can be compared to the middle child. The first born, which perhaps can be compared to as upper level management, can be threatened by the middle manager, making it difficult for the middle manager to do right by his or her boss. Meanwhile the middle manager must oversee and manage unacceptable behavior by his or her subordinates. We see in families the middle child is often left to care for the youngest child, especially if there is a great age difference between the eldest and youngest child.
The psychological stress of middle management can be a tough one, though the important thing as a middle manager is to manage your stress and stay focused. Talk to someone if you are feeling frustrated. A psychologist, human resource counselor, family member, or loved one. Do not alienate yourself. Exercise, use relaxation techniques, eat right and take care of yourself. Vitamins and supplements are available to help you cope with stress as well such as B-12, Omega 3 Fish Oil’s and many other natural helpers. Get enough rest and before you know it, if what you are looking for is your middle management position to become upper management, you may see this dream realized.
Manchester University (2013, April 2). Monkey study reveals why middle managers suffer the most stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 16