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How should business leaders handle middle management in the current climate?

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In an interview by Lawrence Delevigne and J. Brandon Darin on Fortune, Paul Osterman, professor of human resources and management at M.I.T.'s Sloan School of Management, talks about the plight of middle managers – in keeping with the theme of his latest book, The Truth About Middle Managers (Harvard Business Press).

In the current climate, middle managers are more vulnerable to layoffs. Osterman has some advice for business leaders in dealing with middle management. He says: "Clearly in this environment, there's going to be layoffs and restructuring, but I think that it's pretty clear that, first off, top management has to be willing to share the pain, that it can't be perceived as top management pushing the cost entirely on other people."

He adds: "And secondly, there should be as much transparency about the process as possible, how it's being done, what criteria are being used."

Osterman underlines the importance of middle managers and advises that top management should be understanding of the difficulties of the middle tier.

In Defense Of Middle Managers
Lawrence Delevingne and J. Brandon Darin