Where do middle managers find support for themselves?: The Return podcast, season 3, episode 5

This article is part of a special podcast series that covers the challenges and opportunities of returning to the office. More from the series →

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One of the most common ways workers can find support and camaraderie is through a union. But what if your role doesn’t allow you to be a part of a union?

That’s the case for middle managers. 

According to the National Labor Relations Act, managers are prevented from joining unions because it creates a conflict of interest. So where does that leave managers when it comes to support? Like in so many other instances, they are falling through the cracks.

Without formal support groups, middle managers, like today’s guest, have to go out of their way to create their own. Erin Mantz is currently a middle manager at communications agency Zeno Group, who has also been a middle manager at big tech companies throughout her career. She says her informal support group is necessary to stay above water.

In this episode, she tells us how her support group operates, the benefits of having a support network, and where other managers might find their own support to get one of the hardest corporate jobs done.

Across six episodes, season three of The Return explores why middle managers are constantly overwhelmed and what needs to be done to help this cohort of workers who are arguably the most important to a company’s DNA.

We will explore topics including the need for training, where managers can find support, how they navigate tough conversations, and how AI is helping them free up their time to focus on the people part of management.

Season three of The Return is hosted by Cloey Callahan, senior reporter at Digiday Media’s WorkLife, and produced by Digiday Media’s audio producer Sara Patterson. Subscribe to the WorkLife podcast now on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.


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