What is a Manager?

A manager’s job is to supervise one or more employees, divisions, or volunteers in order to ensure that they perform specific tasks or meet specific group goals. Managers can be formal or informal in their approach. They are most common in businesses, but they can be found in almost any situation where a leader is needed to oversee individual projects.

Overarching Responsibilities and Roles

Because the job title encompasses so many different types of work, pinpointing a manager’s specific job duties or performance expectations can be difficult. However, every manager is first and foremost a leader, which is where the majority of responsibilities originate. Planning and group-based organization are important aspects of the job, as are supervising, mentoring, and motivating lower-level employees.

A manager is frequently asked to be the “face” of the people he or she supervises. Leaders frequently need to elicit support for their team’s efforts, which they do forging relationships with strangers. This can take the form of fundraising, but it can also be in the form of publicity or political support.

Responsibility Levels

Upper or senior level leadership, middle management, and lower-level supervision are the three tiers of management in large companies. Managers in the “lower” tier are those who work at the most basic levels of commerce or function. Mid-level leaders usually supervise those in lower-level positions and produce reports for senior leaders. The overarching bosses are usually found in the top tiers. Most are also members of the corporate board of directors, which means they are in charge of making important decisions about funding, accountability, and profit distribution.

The middle tier is what most people think of when they think of managers in the corporate world. Supervisors who manage large territories and solve problems in the lower management tier fall into the middle management tier. These individuals are essentially the bosses of the lower tier’s leaders. At this level, a leader may make tactical decisions about how to best deal with difficult situations that arise within departments, divisions, or even between individual employees. Leaders are also responsible for reporting to upper management, though automation technology has largely replaced this function in some industries. The middle leader’s job in these situations is to properly input data and report claims, but he or she may not have to meet with upper management very often.

While the upper tiers are more prestigious, they are usually much smaller and involve less hands-on work. These executives are usually in charge of overseeing and guiding the company to success making strategic long-term decisions based on data analysis and extrapolating plans of action that address relevant issues while increasing profits.

Franchises and commercial stores

A retail manager ensures that daily business operations run smoothly in commercial franchises such as fast food restaurants. If an employee calls in sick, if there is a problem with stock or deliveries, or if a customer has a problem, a good manager will assign someone to it or address it personally as soon as possible. At this level, decisions are usually made on a short-term basis and are focused on meeting basic operational requirements.

Management of the Office

A “low-level” office manager who reports directly to the company owner may exist in the case of a small, family-owned business. In larger companies, this person may be in charge of a variety of responsibilities that are usually divided into separate departments. Accounting, shipping, and customer service are examples of these responsibilities, with more junior employees handling the majority of them. This person could, for example, work as an accountant, a head sales representative, or a buyer.

Office managers are also common in large corporations, though their duties are primarily secretarial. Secretarial pools are usually overseen large-scale office managers, who also oversee administrative staff assignments and productivity concerns. These positions are frequently highly competitive, and they typically pay well when compared to other administrative jobs.

Criteria for Selection and Hiring

There is rarely a formula for what it takes to succeed as a manager. Managers are frequently promoted from within — that is, they are chosen based on their demonstrated ability as a member of a specific team — but this is not always the case. Managers may be chosen for their leadership potential or demonstrated ability, especially in larger corporations. A number of business schools offer management programs to prepare students for upper-level positions in industries in which they have no prior experience. Much depends on the company’s needs, the candidate’s potential, and the position’s specifics.