Thankless and Precarious: The Plight of Pharma's "Managers-Once-Removed"

Middle managers in the life sciences are underappreciated and underrated in their significance, and yet they're often the first individuals to be blamed for operational issues or to be laid off during restructurings. These are indeed tough times for those whom Jane Chin, founder of the 9Pillars consultancy, calls "managers-once-removed." I recently conducted an email conversation with Chin, also author of "Practical Leadership for Biopharmaceutical Executives," about what challenges face pharma and biopharma middle managers, and what if anything they can do to overcome the challanges.

These professionals are in a thankless, precarious position, Chin says: "Middle managers often are messengers of senior executives' mandates and unfortunately aren't always given a complete set of information they need to answer questions from direct reports about the mandates." She adds that their subordinates "may assume that their managers know more than what is being communicated, which may or may not be the case. This puts middle managers in a precarious position of balancing expectations from the senior leadership team as well as from their subordinates and having to meet these expectations."

The regulatory environment in the life sciences only exacerbates these issues. "The mixed messages come from the poor scalability of these types of admonitions: 'Be careful! Don't get us in trouble!' and on the other hand, 'Be creative! We're in the business of innovation!' These warnings seem to fly in each others' faces, and as usual, it's up to middle managers to decipher what their executive leadership teams mean and then to scale this message appropriately to the subordinate-level and, then, execute on these."

It's unfortunate, Chin continues, as middle managers are essential to organizational success in the life sciences. They are the ones "who are translating and scaling corporate strategies across their individual functions, and then ensuring the appropriate execution and measurements of those strategies," she says. "You can look at troubled organizations and find strategies that have been 'lost in translation' as it percolates through this middle management layer."

For the full discussion with Jane Chin, read here. Also, the cover story of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing's July/August issue will look at the plight of pharma's middle managers, with interviews from consultants like Chin and middle managers themselves. We'll have that story in a few weeks in print and on PharmaManufacturing.com.

--Paul Thomas

Show Comments
Hide Comments

Join the discussion

We welcome your thoughtful comments.
All comments will display your user name.

Want to participate in the discussion?

Register for free

Log in for complete access.

Comments

  • <p>reative! We're in the business of innovation!' These warnings seem to fly in each others' faces, and as usual, it's up to middle managers to decipher what their executive leadership teams mean and then to scale this message appropriat <a href="http://www.happybirthday11.com/">happy birthday</a> </p>

    Reply

  • <p>Hello,I love reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.<a href="http://www.actualtest.ws/actualtests-1z0-051.html">1z0-051 pdf</a>// <a href="http://www.actualtest.ws/actualtests-1z0-052.html">1z0-052 prep</a>// <a href="http://www.actualtest.ws/actualtests-1z0-053.html">1z0-053 questions</a>// <a href="http://www.actualtest.ws/actualtests-1z0-054.html">1z0-054 papers</a>// <a href="http://www.actualtest.ws/actualtests-220-701.html">220-701 papers</a>// <a href="http://www.actualtest.ws/actualtests-220-702.html">220-702 exam questions</a>// <a href="http://www.actualtest.ws/actualtests-312-50.html">312-50 exam questions</a>// <a href="http://www.actualtest.ws/actualtests-312-50v7.html">312-50v7 pdf</a>// </p>

    Reply

  • <p>I wanted to experience the river rafting. But I hope there is a perfect time for this. I am willing to learn how. Thanks. <a href="http://www.optimizareseoweb.biz/google_adwords.html">promovare google</a> </p>

    Reply

  • <p>The pharmacy is the good thing that is giving so many of the cures and medicines to the problems faced by the human body against the Diseases. the field is great in its own ways and also helpful to the mankind. <a href="http://giochitop.blogspot.com/">giochi</a></p>

    Reply

  • <p>this is good opportunity to learn more about pharmamanufacturing. <a href="http://www.fridayrelease.com">Hindi Movies</a> </p>

    Reply

  • <p>Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it's been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back &amp; read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing. <a href="http://www.prlog.org/10303813-free-cell-phone-spy-software-just-15-for-limited-time.html">free cell phone spy software</a></p>

    Reply

  • <p>I used to be more than happy to seek out this internet-site.I wanted to thanks in your time for this glorious read!! I positively enjoying each little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you weblog post. <a href="http://www.newbraindumps.net/350-030-pdf.html">350-030 dumps</a> <a href="http://www.newbraindumps.net/NS0-502-pdf.html">NS0-502 dumps</a> <a href="http://www.newbraindumps.net/EX0-105-pdf.html">EX0-105 dumps</a> <a href="http://www.newbraindumps.net/PW0-070-pdf.html">PW0-070 dumps</a> <a href="http://www.newbraindumps.net/1z0-031-pdf.html">1z0-031 dumps</a> <a href="http://www.newbraindumps.net/642-524-pdf.html">642-524 dumps</a> <a href="http://www.newbraindumps.net/225-030-pdf.html">225-030 dumps</a> <a href="http://www.newbraindumps.net/646-204-pdf.html">646-204 dumps</a> </p>

    Reply

  • <p>A joint venture partnership begins when two or more individuals or entities agree to begin a for-profit business venture. Issues like limited liability protection, taxation and continuity offer the biggest differences between a joint venture partnership and a corporation. Thanks a lot. Regards, <a href="http://dietrolreview.net/">Dietrol</a></p>

    Reply

  • <p>Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it u. I am really loving the theme/design of your web site. <a href="http://www.statedivorce.com/divorce-advice/">divorce advice</a> </p>

    Reply

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments