There is an old saying that someone “feels like a fifth wheel.” Stationary. Nonproductive. Useless. Many supervisors and mid-managers feel this way, more often than you might think.
As a former branch manager in the transportation industry, however, the concept of a fifth wheel takes on entirely different meaning. The fifth wheel is THE vital piece for a safe and successful journey, the key link between the driver (leader) and the critical cargo (team, products, & customers).
Here are six critical functions of a fifth wheel with four truths on the proper caring and feeding of middle managers.