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Who is a Manager? Roles and Responsibilities Defined

The role of a manager varies from industry to industry and from company to company, but some responsibilities are found in every managerial position.

There’s no denying it—the world of business and work has changed dramatically over the past decade or two. One of the biggest changes has been the role and position of managers, now seen as critical to success in both the workplace and life generally. 

But what exactly does it mean to be a manager, anyway? Does it all depend on what kind of company you work in? 

In this article, we will define the roles and responsibilities of a manager and show you how you can be the most effective at team management.

 

Defining a Modern-Day Manager

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Source: Giphy

Modern managers are responsible for their teams’ productivity, morale, and well-being. They work with their team to set goals and priorities while providing feedback and coaching. They are also responsible for managing the budget and overseeing day-to-day operations. 

Understanding the roles and responsibilities is a great way to become an effective manager.

Managers must know how to provide constructive criticism, give praise when it’s due, delegate responsibilities appropriately, stay on top of daily tasks without micromanaging people too much, keep track of schedules and deadlines, communicate clearly about issues and ideas in an effective manner, and take the initiative when needed, so they don’t need to be constantly told what needs to be done next. 

Furthermore, managers should have a solid understanding of basic management skills, including scheduling meetings and handling employee performance reviews.

Here’s an 18-minute video explaining what it means to be a manager. Enjoy!

 

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Manager

A manager in today’s fast-paced knowledge-worker economy is expected to master the following roles and responsibilities:

  1. Defining the vision 
  2. Making important decisions
  3. Determining the resources needed
  4. Hiring the best talent
  5. Resolving conflict in the workplace
  6. Building trust among colleagues
Manager responsibilities
Source

1. Defining the vision 

So, what is a manager’s role? It is up to you as the manager to create an overall plan for success. This includes defining the mission and vision of the company, setting goals and objectives, and coming up with ways to measure performance.

You will also be responsible for getting input from all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, board members, and other managers. You will also be responsible for implementing a strategic organizational structure so that everyone knows their role in achieving the company’s goals.

2. Making important decisions

The second most important of a manager’s duties is making decisions based on the best interests of the company. If you have more than one option available, it is up to you to make the final decision that feels like it best aligns with the company’s values.

Sometimes, someone makes a good argument for another decision or maybe even offers better alternatives, but ultimately, it is up to you to make this decision. A lot of people say this can lead to feeling pressured or stressed, but remember-you’re not doing this alone!

3. Determining the resources needed

As the project manager, you must ensure that any necessary resources are in place before planning moves forward. You need to think about things like supplies, equipment, staff hours, financial investment, and labor costs.

All of these things take money so it is up to you to find out how much funding your project needs. Plus, without knowing what budget is required for certain projects, you won’t know if anything can be expanded or if new items need to be introduced into your business model.

4. Hiring the best talent

The most important responsibility that a successful manager has is making hiring decisions. It’s up to them to find people with the right skills, values, and abilities that fit well within their company culture.

If a candidate doesn’t seem like they will be able to fill the job description successfully, it’s also on the manager’s shoulders to turn down the offer or keep looking.  

5. Resolving conflict in the workplace

If a conflict does arise among two or more employees, it’s usually the manager’s duty to step in and help resolve things. While it’s not always easy to hear about these disagreements, managers need to maintain an objective point of view and make unbiased judgments. 

6. Building trust among colleagues

Leadership is required for any company to be successful. A leader builds trust among colleagues, motivates them to work together, and establishes a vision. The manager’s leadership skills can have a profound effect on the success of the team.

A strong leader will encourage the group to develop a sense of pride and purpose in their work; this helps cultivate creativity and innovation.

Every day, managers must take responsibility for managing conflicts with coworkers, motivating people when they need it most, communicating with others who may not agree with them or their ideas, changing plans based on new information — the list goes on. 

Read also: 25 Productive Things To Do Instead Of Watching Netflix

Top Skills of a Manager Fit for Leadership

The skills and qualities that make for good managers vary depending on the industry, company size, team size, etc. However, some attributes are common among good project managers.

They have strong interpersonal skills; they’re able to think strategically about multiple areas at once (e.g., marketing, operations), and they’re decisive when needed and can also adapt to changing circumstances. 

These skills include:

  1. Strategic thinking
  2. Sensitivity
  3. People development
  4. Effective communication
  5. Emotional intelligence

1. Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking is an essential skill that allows managers to make decisions quickly and accurately, especially during complex or uncertain times.

It requires an understanding of how various departments cooperate in concert with each other towards common goals and also provides foresight into potential problems before they occur. 

2. Sensitivity

Being able to understand and relate to people from different backgrounds will help you manage not only your employees but also clients, vendors, customers, and more. 

3. People development

Managers should see themselves not just as a boss but as someone who is invested in developing their staff.

Effective managers are skilled at communicating, motivating, delegating, and managing their time. They are also adept at conflict resolution, problem-solving, and decision-making.

These skills set successful managers apart from others in the workplace: motivation, delegation, communication skills, and time management.

However, it is not enough to have just these five skills; you need good people skills, too!

A successful manager is usually one who can understand the people around him. Skills like dealing with conflicts effectively, coming up with workable solutions for people’s problems, and making decisions without getting caught up in emotions or politics are all essential for becoming a great manager.

4. Effective communication

When things go wrong in an organization, it is usually due to communication breakdowns; these breakdowns can happen anywhere from between management and employees to communication between departments.

Good listening skills and maintaining open lines of communication among staff members allow managers to foresee potential problem areas early enough to prevent them. 

5. Emotional intelligence

Managers with high levels of emotional intelligence were rated by their subordinates as better overall leaders than their counterparts with low levels of EQ.

It is because they are perceived to be more effective communicators, better decision-makers and problem solvers, and more inspirational and charismatic. In addition, high EQ creates healthier workplaces with sky-rocketed productivity rates. 

A manager who doesn’t possess strong emotional intelligence may unintentionally alienate his team through criticism rather than encouragement, lack of support rather than guidance, and uncontrolled anger instead of consideration.

Read also: Definition and Importance of Project Milestones (+ Examples)

The Different Types of Managers

There are many different types of managers. They can be classified by their level of responsibility, the company they work for, the industry they operate in, etc. 

This blog post will focus on four main types of managers: executive or senior management, middle management, first-line management, and team leader.

We will define the role and responsibilities of an Executive/Senior Management and Middle Management so that you know what you’re getting into if you’re thinking about becoming a manager! 

  1. Executive manager
  2. Middle manager
  3. First-line manager
  4. Team leaders

1. Executive manager

An Executive/Senior Manager is typically responsible for supervising and directing others’ work, setting the strategy and policies of their department, leading projects, and resolving issues with other departments as needed.

2. Middle manager 

A middle manager is responsible for overseeing tasks, planning schedules, meeting deadlines, ensuring people meet goals, dealing with conflict resolution among team members or from other teams, and managing finances.

3. First-line manager

The first-line manager is often the person to whom employees report directly. They have one or more direct reports or an entire team in their care and are accountable for performance against metrics.

A first-line manager has many responsibilities. These include recruiting new talent and coaching current staff members through complex tasks or times.

They can also lead strategic initiatives agreed upon by leadership at the company level. First-line managers must manage different areas, such as people, finance, resources, and operations. 

4. Team leaders

Team leaders work with teams made up of several first-line managers. They oversee the completion of specific projects or programs, which require coordination with other teams on project timelines and strategies.

Leaders spend a lot of time strategizing and setting priorities while ensuring everyone is aligned with goals and meeting deadlines.

In addition to these types of managers, there are many other types, each with its own set of responsibilities. They can provide guidance, inspiration, and organizational skills to their teams. The following are just a few examples. 

  • A production manager is responsible for overseeing every aspect of production for the company. This includes financial management and resource allocation.
  • A business development manager is responsible for managing the sales cycle from lead generation through closing deals on behalf of the company.
  • A human resources manager (HR manager) is often tasked with recruiting employees, planning benefits packages and training programs, as well as firing employees when necessary.
  • An information systems manager has the responsibility of maintaining systems that help keep an organization running smoothly. 

Generally speaking, any position could fall under ‘manager’ if it includes managerial duties such as directing and supervising others. However, it is always better for a manager to have certain certifications to display his expertise. 

What type of manager are you?

Types of managers
Source

Read also: Top 8 Product Manager Certifications: Let’s Do This

Why are Managers Important?

Managers play a vital role in ensuring that their employees have all the resources they need to do their jobs. They also lead by example, encouraging their team members in pursuit of achieving goals while maintaining healthy work relationships.

Managers should remember that they are there to help other people meet their potential.

There is no “I” in management; there is only we. 

It is a manager’s responsibility to act in the best interests of all team members. For example, whenever a manager has to make a decision, he or she must reflect on how the decision will affect the entire company and also themselves!

Managers must also ensure that there is enough money for all expenses, including employee payrolls, every month.

Read also: Agile Meetings Uncovered: Are They Really Effective?

The Personality Characteristics of a Good Manager (Soft Skills)

Although there are no strict requirements for becoming a manager, there are several characteristics that make a good leader. 

Here are some personality characteristics of a good manager: 

Important soft skills for managers
Source

Empathy

The ability to understand what others may be feeling or experiencing without having had those feelings themselves. Good managers should know how their employees might feel when they have a terrible day at work, get into an argument with their spouse, etc.

A lack of empathy makes it difficult for a person to empathize with others in general and co-workers. Hence, this quality must exist for a person to be considered a good manager.

Self-awareness

Self-aware managers are aware of their strengths, weaknesses, and how others perceive them. They know what they’re good at, what they’re not so great at, and how others see them. They also set high standards for themselves–and others–and use constructive feedback to improve their performance. 

Positive approach

Positive managers are optimistic about personal accomplishments and their ability to lead others. These leaders create an environment where people can thrive and achieve their goals.

Managers with this characteristic do more than just talk about their successes; they share advice on overcoming obstacles and staying motivated. 

Approachability

Approachability is another characteristic of a good leader. Having an approachable manager contributes to a friendly work environment, where employees can express their concerns without fear of retaliation.

When communicating with employees, good managers make eye contact, listen attentively, use “I” statements (e.g., I understand that this situation isn’t easy), ask clarifying questions (e.g., Could you please give me some more details?), and take responsibility for mistakes. They show empathy for those who have less experience with stressful situations.

Read also: The 2024 Guide To Higher Education Marketing Strategies

Good Manager vs Great Manager

A good manager can make a huge difference to a company. A great one can change the world. What separates the two?

It’s not always clear cut, but some common themes are as follows:

  1. Good managers are reactive. Great managers are proactive. 
  2. Good managers keep their teams focused on goals. Great managers help their team set their own goals.
  3. Good managers have systems in place for success. Great managers create systems that push the boundaries of what is possible.
  4. A good manager is focused on rules and compliance. A great manager sets boundaries with empathy and kindness.
  5. A good manager will be hands-off; if something goes wrong, it is the employee’s fault. A great manager will step up when something goes wrong, acknowledging that it could have been avoided with better leadership.

A good manager is someone who has a deep understanding of the company they are leading. They understand how every detail impacts the company’s bottom line, how to think on their feet, and how to provide guidance where needed. 

A great manager is more than just a good manager; they have an innate ability to build a cohesive team from the ground up. A great leader understands that the best way to get the most out of people is by empowering them instead of trying to control them.

Read also: How To Build Your Own Project Roadmap Template

The Differences Between a Leader and a Manager

A manager is a person in charge of the day-to-day operations of an organization. The term leader often has more to do with being inspirational and guiding an organization to success. A leader also has more freedom to try new ideas and take risks.

However, a manager needs to know how to run a business on a day-to-day basis while keeping up with new developments in the industry.

Creative thinking

Leaders are often the public face of an organization, while managers have more administrative responsibilities. However, in many cases, managers will also serve in leadership by setting direction for their team or department.

For example, a CEO may oversee marketing strategy rather than execute it day-to-day. Leaders tend to push boundaries and think creatively about the future, whereas managers follow established processes and set priorities accordingly. These generalities help us understand why a company might need both leaders and managers to thrive.

Inspiring change

Leaders communicate and can inspire organizational change by way of personal example, while managers do so by facilitating change with others through expertise in problem-solving and decision-making.

With a leader, the company is constantly looking at new ways of doing things and coming up with innovative solutions; this gives them an edge over other companies. Managers take care of all the necessary steps to get there; this helps ensure that they’ll reach their goals and continue making progress.

Coaching and engagement

Leaders are concerned with team morale and engagement, but managers must also balance these factors with productivity and quality control.

For example, if there is an employee who always needs more direction from the manager, then it may be time to talk about how their current role might not be a good fit for them or where there might be an opportunity for growth within the company.

Leaders typically try coaching techniques first and only move up to termination after giving the employee ample chances to succeed in a new position.

If this same scenario were taking place under the guidance of a manager instead, it would most likely end with dismissal rather than coaching because managers deal primarily with tasks instead of human resources matters, including career development opportunities.

The example of Steve Jobs: Leader or manager?

Steve Jobs quote on Customer Needs

It is essential to understand that a leader and a manager can be the same. For example, Steve Jobs was both the CEO of Apple and one of its top executives, so he served as both leader and manager. Jobs had many responsibilities, including strategy, design, marketing, and product development, among others, which were led by his executive team.

He oversaw day-to-day operations because he was head of management, making him the manager. Additionally, he acted as an ambassador for Apple’s products through keynote speeches at various conferences, which allowed him to act as a leader for his organization.

Read aslo: 11 of the Greatest Business People of All Time

A Career in Management

Aspiring to make a career as a manager? Here’s what you should know.

You may also need certain technical skills so you can work with different types of people on specific tasks (such as engineers on engineering projects).

There are different levels of managers that correspond with varying degrees of responsibility.

Managers often have to lead meetings where they relay information to their staff members and solve problems together. They might be in charge of giving feedback to employees on their performance, helping figure out company goals, and coordinating work schedules with other departments.

For managers, understanding how others think is crucial to identifying potential challenges or opportunities early on before they become more serious problems.

You will also be required to keep accurate records of all activities so that reports can be generated for upper management. Managers who have a history of solving difficult problems or successfully leading teams are usually able to achieve great success. 

We are sure this collection of tips will help you achieve your goal of pursuing a career in this field!

Read also: How to Become a Sales Director: Skills, Qualifications, Salaries, and JD

Conclusion

A manager is a powerful position that can make or break an organization. Working as a manager is never easy.

However, it can be extremely rewarding. That being said, there are many things to consider before taking on the role. They must clearly understand a manager’s roles and responsibilities, along with how they will define success for themselves and the company.

EngageBay is a powerful yet affordable CRM and project management software. Sign up for free or book a demo with our experts. 

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