What Does A Manager Do? (With Tips and Essential Skills)

Updated 19 January 2023

Managers are crucial for the efficient functioning of an organization. They oversee administrative tasks and handle the role of a leader by guiding and mentoring their team. If you are considering applying for the role of manager, it is beneficial to acquaint yourself with the expected duties and responsibilities of the position. In this guide, we answer the question, "What does a manager do?", and explore the skills required to succeed in a managerial position.

Related: How To Become a Manager (With Essential Skills To Master)

What Does A Manager Do?

To get a clear understanding of the answer to, "What does a manager do?", you can divide the duties of a manager into the following distinct categories. They are:

  • Sets goals and objectives: The manager sets short-term and long-term goals and objectives for the team. They plan the order of execution of the tasks to meet the desired goals.

  • Organizes tasks: They divide tasks into manageable chunks and select the right people for each job. They also handle other high-level administrative tasks, like budgeting for the team.

  • Conducts performance reviews: The manager analyses the performance of each team member and communicates the same to the HR department or senior managers.

  • Develops the skills of team members: The manager also provides constructive feedback to each team member and helps them improve their professional skills. They also may train new employees to get acquainted with their job.

  • Motivates and communicates: The manager oversees a team and gives them positive feedback to ensure the completion of all tasks according to the work plan. They monitor the status of jobs and communicate timely information to the team to complete tasks per schedule.

  • Acts as an intermediary between the team and upper management: The manager communicates the vision of the upper management. They participate in executive-level meetings and pass the information to their team.

  • Hires new employees: In some companies, managers take on the role of an interviewer evaluating and suggesting new hires based on their performance in interviews.

Related: What Is The Role Of A Manager?

Types Of Managers

Businesses can have multiple managers to streamline operations and handle different tasks. Here are the common types of managerial positions in a large organization:

Top-level managers

These are the chief executives in organizations and generally have titles such as CEO (Chief Executive Officer), COO (Chief Operations Officer), CTO (Chief Technology Officer), CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), CCO (Chief Compliance Officer), and CFO (Chief Financial Officer). Depending on the size and structure of the organization, executive vice presidents and division heads may also be part of the top management team.

The top-level managers are responsible for an organization's long-term success and vision. They take the major decisions and ensure that all operations align with their mission and vision. They are responsible for major tasks like financial acquisitions, investments, partnerships and strategic alliances, mergers, new product introductions, and branding. Ultimately, they set long-term goals and define the strategies to achieve them.

Related: Manager Vs. Senior Manager: What Are The Differences?

Middle managers

These professionals have titles like chief supervisor, department head, and department director. They act as an intermediary between the top-level executives and the frontline managers. They are responsible for transforming the broad strategies from the top-level managers into operational blueprints with specific objectives for each first-line manager they oversee. These managers also help foster employee talent by exhibiting exemplary leadership to frontline managers and other employees. They assess the challenges to meeting objectives and help frontline managers overcome these hurdles.

Frontline Managers

These managers can also be known as first-line managers and remain in the closest contact with the other employees. These professionals are directly responsible for ensuring that the team members implement the organizational objectives received from senior managers. They hold job titles like section chiefs, shift managers, floor supervisors, assistant managers, and office managers. They are the first to notice any operational challenges within the organization and report them to middle-level managers.

Team leaders

Team leaders are managers responsible for a particular task or activity. The team leader reports to the frontline manager or the middle manager, depending on the organizational hierarchy. The various responsibilities of a team leader include creating timelines for the completion of a project, assigning specific work tasks, providing training, and communicating concise instructions to team members. Overall, they ensure that the team operates at its peak efficiency without any bottlenecks. Once the particular task is over, the management can eliminate the position of the team lead or assign the team leader to oversee a different job.

Critical Skills Of Successful Managers

Generally, managers begin their careers as entry-level employees and progress to managerial positions by acquiring the required skills and academic qualifications. Here are some of the essential skills to become a successful manager:

Communication skills

As a manager, a significant portion of your responsibilities may be to act as the liaison between frontline staff and senior management. As part of their duties, managers interact with people from all levels, including entry-level employees to heads of departments and CEOs. They also communicate with others outside the organisation, like clients and vendors.

Having strong written, verbal, and listening skills helps managers carry out their tasks efficiently while improving the team's performance. Having open and positive lines of communication helps create a healthy work environment. Simple but effective gestures like positive feedback, constructive criticism, and clear instructions help managers build a positive workplace.

Related: Communication Skills For Managers: Definition And Examples

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to think strategically and make sound decisions after evaluating the pros and cons of all the available options. It helps managers find out the best ways to overcome challenges and problems in the workplace. Critical thinkers encourage creativity and innovation, making the entire team more productive and competitive. Here are some ways to build your critical thinking at the workplace:

  • Consider the short- and long-term effects of each solution before implementing them.

  • Evaluate the situation by considering all the available facts and data.

  • Brainstorm and collaborate with employees from different levels to explore creative solutions.

Related: Critical Thinking Skills: Definitions And Examples

Decision making

Whether you are a top-level manager or a team leader, you are likely to make many decisions as part of your job. Managers interview and recruit new hires, allocate tasks for each team member based on their strengths, and plan project implementation timelines. Evaluating the pros and cons of a situation to make an informed decision is essential. Managers also solve problems daily, so quick decision-making skills can help you eliminate troubles and ensure that the workflow runs smoothly.

Organization and delegation

As a manager, you are likely to juggle multiple responsibilities like attending meetings and training sessions, overseeing the work of other employees, reviewing company policies and carrying out appraisals daily. Excellent organizational skills are crucial and help you reduce stress, save time and meet critical deadlines. Delegation is another essential skill of a manager. It helps you achieve more goals by assigning the right tasks to each team member based on their abilities and strengths.

Related: The Importance Of Delegation Of Authority In Management

Leadership skills

As a manager, you are responsible for overseeing the work of your team members and motivating them to achieve a common goal. A good manager is also an effective leader and mentors and guides employees to complete work as per schedule. Some leadership skills that can help you in your managerial role include dependability, conflict resolution, constructive criticism, empathy, integrity, and interpersonal skills. Setting aside time to know your team members professionally and personally through team-building exercises and social outings can help you earn their respect and trust as a leader.

Technical proficiency

Good managers are domain experts. They have a thorough understanding of the process they are managing. They have a clear idea of the tasks the team members are performing and can help guide them if they face any challenges. Several businesses require managers to be domain experts in their field. For example, a pharmaceutical manager has a professional degree in pharmacology to understand and monitor the assigned project.

Tips To Be A Great Manager

Here are a few tips to improve your managerial skills and progress in your career as a manager:

  • Take inspiration from other managers whom you admire. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of other managers and try to incorporate their best traits in your role.

  • Be confident. Having confidence in your abilities helps you improve your decision-making skills and make timely decisions for yourself and your team.

  • Understand your preferred managerial style and work on it. Identify the type of manager you are and take the time to improve your skills to earn the trust of your teammates.

  • Identify each employee's strengths and find out ways to utilize their natural skills to their full potential. This also makes team members feel valued, helping them be more productive at work.

  • Encourage and appreciate accomplishments. When an employee completes a project successfully, encourage and motivate them to replicate their success on future projects.

  • Keep learning and improving your skills. You can take professional courses or online webinars and training sessions to update your managerial knowledge and acquire new skills.

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