Sandwich-Position als Führungskraft

Can I – and do I have to – please everybody as an executive?

How can I cope with all the expectations coming from everybody around me?

Many executives feel torn in their position as buffer between employees and top management. The employees expect their superior to fully support them in top management. If ideas and demands coming from the ranks of employees are not realized they result in discontent and annoyance. At the same time the top management has clear-cut ideas and aims and expects the executive to realize these for them and with the employees. If views differ, the superior acts as buffer between top management and employees. He or she tries to mediate and to please both sides. At the same time he or she perceives the discontent on both sides, as neither of the parties is fully satisfied. How can I, as an executive, better react from the sandwich position?

It is often helpful to look for analogies from other fields of life to make a step further in the direction of a solution. As a mother many aspects of the situation described above remind me of the challenges wanting to perform the different roles as mother, working woman and wife to everybody’s full content. Is that possible? Can I please my children, my employer and my husband 100%?

Looked at it from outside one soon realizes that it is essential for one’s own contentment to become fully aware of one’s own role(s) and also to make a realistic assessment of one’s own possibilities. How do I use my time most efficiently? What would I like to achieve? What do I personally consider to be important? Of what avail is the splitting up of my attention and time? With what degree of contentment of the parties concerned can I live and what must not happen in any case? How do I communicate my position most effectively?

What can I do not to feel trapped in the sandwich position?

The same questions can also help executives to feel more at ease in their different roles as superior, employee and colleague and to improve their own position. One’s own clear positioning, open and regular communication and reflection of the aims and also limits of one’s own role create clarity. Their own satisfaction is augmented, they have taken an important step to be perceived by employees and top management as a strong leading personality who knows what he/she wants.


Anke Michels
Consulting, Training, Coaching
Engelbertstr. 8
D-57489 Drolshagen

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