Sue the middle manager was waiting expectantly for a report to be completed. At the appointed time, her subordinate knocked on her door. “My report will be delayed,” he said. “Bob asked me to work on getting him information for his board meeting so I had to set it aside.”

Sue sighed. Bob was her boss, the general manager. He was known to step in without warning. “Okay, when do you think you’ll be able to get it to me?” Sue asked. “By Friday,” came the response.

Friday, she thought with exasperation. That leaves me working on the weekend if I want to get my presentation done in time for Tuesday’s management meeting. I just wish Bob would talk to me first, before he goes changing the priorities of my people!

Such is life for the middle manager – the toughest role in management.   Learn more about The Four Secrets of Effective Middle Managers at