Shonda Rhimes, an American television producer, screenwriter, and author, is a master at pulling back the curtain and showing the inner workings of her characters. She pinpoints what makes that person tick. Through each character’s choices, she raises truths we don’t want to talk about and shows us how we lie to ourselves.
In her 2022 mini-series, Inventing Anna, we are taken inside a fake German Heiress’s attempt to become part of the NY Society elite. Her enigmatic personality keeps us on a roller coaster of liking her, hating her; trusting her, not trusting her.
One thing is for sure: when Anna feels threatened, she lashes out at those around her. In one scene she is being thrown out of a luxury hotel for not paying her bill and she blurts out:
Are you siding with this little power-hungry middel manager?
And there it is: A truth that many believe about managers, said out loud and on the screen.
The truth: the Manager was doing his job. And doing it well.
Standing in his power, the Manager has full trust that he is doing the right thing. Asking a patron to pay a large outstanding bill is within his authority, purview and is indeed his job. This post on confidence shows how to stand in your power.
Firm and unwavering, no matter the mean words, she throws out. No matter what promises she makes, he holds fast to his goal. To get her to provide a form of payment for her $30,000 outstanding bill.
The manager is crystal clear about the situation and the remedy, if she doesn’t pay; there is no access to her suite. No wiggle room. He states it in a way that cannot be misinterpreted. Even-handed he presents the facts and the acceptable solution.
The Gatekeeper & The Glue
Middle Managers have a hard balancing act. They are the gatekeepers and the glue. They must make on-the-spot decisions based on what is right in front of them, upper-management’s directives and both the information the customer and the staff are saying right at that moment. This is not an easy task. And Managers do it with everyone looking. That’s what makes them the glue. They hold it all together.
Binge on a random show. You never know what will show up that reminds you of who you are and what you do. Reinforce your values and actions. Be the gatekeeper and the glue. Others are counting on you.