Lea Hollenstein

How to improve mid-managers well-being

A human-centred design approach to understand the challenges mid-managers face with leadership positions that present mental health issues to them.


Sensing the system

Susanne is a middle manager in a large corporate company. She is one of many employees feeling burnt out and undervalued, and deciding to quit her job. Her case presents an increase in mental health issues and retention. Almost one-third of the employed are emotionally exhausted, costing employers around CHF 7.6 billion per year. The main costs and consequences for the company associated with an individual employee’s mental health issues are sick leave in Europe. Middle managers like Susanne are faced with challenges due to the pressure and responsibility they have towards the top management and their team. Therefore, they are more likely to suffer from mental health issues. This Bachelor‘s Thesis explores mid-managers challenges, understanding the underlying causes and simplifying what is necessary to improve mid-managers like Susanne’s mental health and satisfaction at work.



Together with CEOs, top managers, mid-managers and mid-manager team members, I immersed myself in the daily, continuous and consistent struggles of each role. By interviewing, ideating, prototyping, and testing with the participants, I fully understood the causes and effects of the problem areas, evidently leading me to my intervention.



Through «The leader’s guidance booklet», I can help middle managers like Susannes› well-being by building a feedback culture and providing a connection to the top management and the mid-managers team. Further, enhance a sense of purpose by allowing opportunities for self-development and reflection. The values of the final solution concept go beyond the role of the mid-manager and can be implemented on all hierarchy levels. Moreover, the medium can be adjusted to the company’s preference and continuously improved.

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