On one of the leadership seminars (just humor me. they want to make me a leader) I attended one of the speakers addressed the participants in this way “you are now in the cross roads of your careers. you are now in place to be the mediator of the management and the rank and file. you are no longer wholly part of the rank and file since you have to begin looking at the business side of the equation.”

Ok, so that is already a paraphrase of what the speaker said. Regardless, my understanding of the whole thing makes me feel giddy inside. Why should there even be a distinction? Is the rift between management and staff really that wide that they can never meet? This might be stereotypical but the staff generally views management as people who doesn’t care about the life of the ordinary employee while the common perception of management is that the staff is incapable of understanding the big picture thus incapable of making the correct decisions.

Why can’t a person be both? Why do we have to choose? Does getting promoted really means swimming with the sharks? Does achieving the next level really require a shift in ones belief and norm? Does one have to compromise one’s principle to cross the perceived rift?

Instead of a cross-road I am finding myself walking in a tightrope. I still want to view myself as one of the staff since technically I am still a staff member. I just happen to be in a place where I ideally viewed it as a place wherein I can effect more changes. These are the same changes that I have always been clamoring when I was still below a lead position.

I think my problem is that I am cursed with this desire to be neutral but at the same time have this streak of idealism burdened with a lot of pragmatism. I want to have my cake and eat it too. Why can’t I have it both ways with my decisions? Why should every decision be viewed and weighed if it was tainted by management or staff concerns rather than being weighed on its own merits?

It might just be a transition phase (or in staff parlance, my heart is still beating) but I am getting tired of being cut off for every non-trivial decision I make. This is where I abhor being a leader, rather being happy with being an adviser. The latter have the luxury of letting others with the ambition run the show but at the same time have enough inputs to steer the greater master plan.

Paraphrasing something I have heard from a friend;

Don’t walk in front of me for I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me for I may not lead.
Walk beside me so that we may learn from each other.

Why can’t the life of (middle) management be like that?