What Are Top Management Responsibilities? (With Positions)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In an organisation, there are different levels of management based on the organisational structure. In proportion to the size of a company and its workforce, the number of management levels increases or decreases. All managerial positions have varying degrees of authority and influence with regard to decision-making responsibilities. In this article, we understand top management responsibilities and discuss what a top-level manager is, including their day-to-day activities.

What are top management responsibilities?

Learning about top management responsibilities can help professionals understand the management structure in a company and how it affects the decision-making process. Top-level management refers to the organisation owners, board of directors, the C-suite executives such as the chief executive officer (CEO), chief information officer (CIO), the chief operating officer (COO), the president, vice president and senior executive. Since top management oversees a company's goals, policies and procedures, they are the ultimate source of authority with their focus on strategic planning and execution. Business success is their main priority.

It is important for senior managers to demonstrate their commitment to the management system and to ensure continuous improvement within the entire organisation for it to succeed. Providing strong leadership, visible and active support and demonstrating their involvement in continuous improvement are all necessary for organisational success. The following are some of the responsibilities of top management:

Planning

It is important for the top-level managers to establish objectives, plans and strategies in compliance with the organisational policies. They manage and assess the collective impact of the goals and objectives of an organisation in an integrated way. In addition, they set measurable objectives across the organisation and at all levels for the successful implementation of goals and strategies.

Related: What Is Strategic Planning And How To Do It In 6 Steps

Communication of company goals

A company's goals and vision guide how employees fulfil their responsibilities. A company's top leadership requires making sure every employee understands the overall strategy and goals of the business to achieve higher company achievements. Following that, top management can direct the front-line managers to develop goals for each employee. It is important for these goals to be achievable, challenging and measurable, while also reflecting the company's current situation and overall strategy.

Administrative tasks

Often, managers are responsible for handling certain administrative tasks. This includes overseeing schedules, tracking salary payments, managing budgets and day-to-day profits. In addition, they may also be responsible for completing and filing paperwork for new hires, preparing training materials for employees and planning events.

Assume responsibility for quality management system

A quality management system refers to a set of business processes and functions that aim at meeting and exceeding customer expectations and requirements through continual quality improvement. Companies use quality management systems to ensure responsibilities, agreements and contracts comply with environmental, product and food safety regulations. The top-level management is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of the quality management system.

Promote risk-based thinking

For top-level managers, applying risk-based thinking is crucial to planning, operations and performance evaluation. As part of risk-based thinking, companies encourage to reduce risk proactively and make it a key component of their quality management systems. Managing at the highest level involves considering risks and opportunities, implementing corrective actions to address them and evaluating their efficacy.

Development of resources

It involves finding out how to procure resources to put organisational plans into motion. Resources include tools, furniture, equipment and building materials. Top-level managers ensure the maintenance of adequate resources for the creation, testing and marketing of the organisation's goods and services.

C-level executives

C-level executives are the members of an organisation's top management. Their role is to make decisions that are critical to the success of the organisation. Some C-level positions include:

Chief executive officer (CEO)

The company's CEO creates strategic plans, sets goals, oversees the organisation and makes final decisions regarding plans, strategies and projects. It is also part of the CEO's responsibilities to meet with other top-level managers to ensure their areas of work align. The primary roles of a chief executive officer include macro-management and strategic planning. In addition, the CEO usually leaves the details of operations and performance to the middle management.

Related: What Is A CEO? Definition And Career Advice

Chief operating officer (COO)

As the second-highest C-level officer, a COO is responsible for the daily operations of an organisation and ensures the proper execution of the organisation's plans and strategies on a daily basis. COOs are also responsible for monitoring results, efficiency and performance. Demonstrating competence in business development, strong interpersonal skills and strategic planning are some of the key skills of a chief operating officer.

Chief financial officer (CFO)

CFOs are responsible for the financial well-being of an organisation and are the highest-ranking financial officials. The CFO's responsibilities include making recommendations on mergers and acquisitions, overseeing financial planning and analysis (FP&A) functions and obtaining funding. In addition, the CFO analyses financial data and crafts budgets with department heads, attests to the accuracy of reports and works with directors and the CEO on strategic decisions.

Chief information officer (CIO)

The chief information officer, as one of the company's high-ranking executives, is responsible for overseeing computer and IT systems and implementing them. To meet organisational needs, they may choose hardware and software or update existing systems. It is also imperative that they ensure the technological functionality aligns with the strategic vision of the CEO. Some of their other responsibilities include managing the IT department, approving the purchase of IT equipment, developing business relationships with IT vendors and working closely with the company executives to establish best IT practices.

Related: 20 Jobs In IT To Explore (With Salary Information)

Chief marketing officer (CMO)

The chief marketing officer, also known as a marketing director and global marketing officer, oversees all marketing activities. A CMO is responsible for helping the company increase its revenue by developing marketing strategies that are unique to those of its competitors. In addition, key responsibilities of a chief marketing officer include brand management, market research and communications and product management. It is important for a CMO to have skills such as:

  • strong communication skills

  • good leadership skills

  • understanding of data analysis tools

  • being an expert in social media marketing and digital marketing

Chief human resources officer (CHRO)

Chief human resources officers are responsible for a company's human resources and culture. Organisations may also refer to them as the head of people or talent, chief talent officer (CTO) and vice president (VP) of HR, depending on the industry and size of the company. A CHRO's responsibilities include managing all HR functions, overseeing career paths and devising strategies that help achieve business objectives. In addition, CHROs evaluate training and development programmes, develop HR policies across all branches and regions, supervise HR directors and analyse the effectiveness of HR tools and procedures. The key skills of a CHRO include:

  • strong verbal and written communication skills

  • excellent organisational skills

  • strong problem-solving and analytical skills

  • knowledge of different human resource information systems

Related: 10 Careers In Human Resources (With Salary And Job Duties)

The characteristics of top management

To be a successful top management professional, it is important to have the following characteristics:

Possess leadership skills and experience

It is imperative for a top management professional to have strong leadership qualities. The ability to be flexible, communicate effectively and tackle a task with an optimistic attitude are among these skills. A professional can pursue top management positions if they have substantial leadership experience. Some skills include:

  • self-confidence

  • learning agility

  • delegation

  • personal motivation

  • influence

  • self-awareness

  • feedback

Positive outlook towards challenges

It is common for an organisation to face challenges from external sources. For anyone in top management, seeing them, anticipating them and ultimately tackling them are crucial. Creating procedures within the company that respond to the challenges of the future is an ability top-level managers can develop. Having this capability allows them and their organisation to handle new challenges more quickly and recover more effectively, resulting in higher profitability and more efficiency.

Resilience and perseverance

Perseverance is the ability to keep working towards a goal despite setbacks and challenges. Top management professionals occasionally face challenges, including failures in or more of their projects and initiatives. For top management to remain effective, learning from mistakes and failures is essential.

Organisational focus

Organisational focus is another trait of top management professionals. The ability to identify and pursue opportunities for the organisation plays a crucial role in success. A top-level manager who is capable of seeing new opportunities and sharing ideas is an important part of helping an organisation grow. Other levels of management can also share this focus, resulting in significant growth within the organisation.

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