Managers: Sandwich as a symbol

About the sandwich employees (or managers)

Let’s face it: everyone is now familiar with the issue of psychological stress among employees: rising absenteeism, loss of productivity and fluctuation – an even more present topic in times of/after or before Corona. One reason why the topic makes it into the media very often. Not infrequently, the cause lies with the manager: for example, through too much supervision, too little trust and low appreciation of employees. There is no denying it: Improving the health of employees is a central and important topic – also for our employee surveys, which we offer as B&C SALUTION for other companies. However, I don’t think managers should always be portrayed as the “guilty party.” This ignores the fact that managers themselves can also be stressed. That’s why I believe that more attention should be paid to this topic in the future than has been the case to date: Anyone searching Google for “employee stress” receives a total of 15.3 million results. If you enter “stress of managers”, Google only spits out 1.5 million results. Along with this, the MEHQ ( is one of the few questionnaires for mental risk assessment that includes a separate executive module for measuring the specific stresses of executives.

These arise, among other things, from the so-called “sandwich position”: Managers have to meet both the expectations of their employees and those of their own superiors. At the same time, they sometimes have to pass on unpalatable information to their employees (such as cutbacks, layoffs) – and not always in accordance with their own convictions. Afterwards, they have to catch the reactions of the employees. In addition, they have two fundamentally different tasks that they have to reconcile in terms of time: Employee management and their technical tasks. This, too, is not always so easy to do and leads to stress.Taking the specific stresses of managers together, this has been shown to have a strong impact on managers’ mental health and willingness to change, as shown in my dissertation (

My appeal: Managers, too, are only human – not always perfect, but they should also be considered as such when it comes to the topic of “mental health” – and hopefully a little more in the future than they have been so far!

Dr. Bettina Zweck, B&C SALUTION GmbH