What is a Manager? Definition, Types, Roles, Functions, and Qualities

What is a Manager?

What is a Manager? Or, Who is a Manager?

A manager is a professional who holds the responsibility of overseeing and optimizing the resources within an organization to achieve predetermined goals and objectives effectively and efficiently. They are tasked with devising plans, establishing policies, guiding people, and implementing strategies that drive the organization toward success. In essence, managers play a crucial role in enabling the realization of desired outcomes for the company.

To fulfill their duties, managers perform a range of functions that include planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. By engaging in these activities, they strive to enhance productivity and overall performance within the organization. One of the key aspects of a manager’s role is to provide leadership. They are involved in creating, managing, and leading teams of employees, thereby fostering a collaborative environment where individuals work together towards shared objectives.

The effectiveness and optimal utilization of organizational resources, such as human capital, financial assets, information, and physical infrastructure, greatly rely on the knowledge, skills, and abilities possessed by managers. A skilled manager brings about uniformity in actions, nurtures team spirit, and promotes cooperation among employees. Moreover, they actively support and encourage their staff rather than merely controlling them.

A proficient manager possesses a diverse skill set. They are adept at strategic planning, decision-making, problem-solving, communication, and interpersonal relations. By leveraging these capabilities, managers are able to adapt to dynamic business environments and navigate challenges that arise along the way. They act as catalysts for change, driving innovation and improvement within the organization.

Types of Manager

How many types of managers are in the organization mainly depends upon the size of the organization and its nature. In practice, in some organizations managers have specific tasks only, on the other hand, in other organizations they manage the whole functions of the organization.

Basically, the most common types of managers include three – top-level, middle-level, and lower-level managers.

Top Level Managers

At the highest level of management, there are top-level managers who hold prestigious positions in the organization’s leadership, such as CEOs, CFOs, Presidents, and Managing Directors. These individuals play a critical role in steering the organization and shaping its overall direction.

They bear the responsibility of setting long-term plans and strategies, aligning available resources with employee capabilities, and capitalizing on external opportunities. Additionally, they are tasked with managing employees to ensure the organization’s growth, reputation, and success.

Also Read: The 3 Levels Of Management – Top, Middle, And Lower in Detail

Middle-Level Managers

Middle-level managers, such as marketing managers, production managers, R&D managers, distribution managers, finance managers, HR managers, and procurement managers, hold pivotal roles within departments of an organization. Reporting to the top-level managers, they are responsible for translating the vision and plans set by the CEOs into actionable steps for their respective departments.

They receive guidance and authority from the top-level managers and oversee the work of lower-level managers. Middle-level managers play a vital role in maintaining discipline, monitoring progress, and providing regular reports to the CEOs, ensuring smooth operations within the organization.

Lower-Level Managers

Lower-level managers, including supervisors, coordinators, and superintendents, occupy operational roles within the organization. They directly interact with the employees who carry out the tasks and responsibilities of the organization. Working under the guidance of departmental heads and middle-level managers, their primary responsibility is to implement the plans and strategies devised by higher-level managers.

These managers assume leadership roles, motivating and overseeing the working employees, while also addressing their queries and concerns. Their efficient management of day-to-day activities contributes to the realization of the organization’s goals envisioned by CEOs and middle managers.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Manager

What are the roles of a manager?

It is obvious that when you get hired as a manager, your company will certainly expect you to do something. In this context, Henry Mintzberg, author on Business and Management has suggested 10 common roles of managers which every manager perform in their tenure.

Let’s shortly understand the 10 common roles of a manager.

  • Figurehead Role: Managers act as symbolic leaders of the organization, setting a positive example during important events and programs.
  • Leader Role: Guiding and influencing teams of employees toward the organization’s interests is a crucial aspect of a manager’s leadership role.
  • Liaison Role: Managers establish and maintain relationships with both internal and external stakeholders, effectively communicating organizational matters.
  • Monitor Role: Managers collect and analyze information from both internal and external sources, keeping a close eye on the organization’s environment. Conducting a SWOT analysis can aid in performing this monitoring role effectively.
  • Disseminator Role: Managers share valuable information collected through monitoring with different organizational units and external parties.
  • Spokesperson Role: Managers have a legal obligation to disclose relevant information about the company to the general public, media, and governmental organizations.
  • Negotiator Role: Managers engage in negotiations and bargaining with external parties to protect and promote the organization’s interests.
  • Resource Allocator: Proper allocation of human, financial, information, and physical resources is vital for enhancing productivity and achieving organizational goals.
  • Entrepreneurial Role: Managers apply new, innovative, and creative approaches to tasks, resembling the entrepreneurial spirit in finding better ways of operating.
  • Disturbance Handler: Managers address unexpected conflicts and disturbances that arise within the organization, effectively managing and resolving them.

These ten roles by Mintzberg collectively shape a manager’s responsibilities, allowing them to navigate organizational challenges, drive success, and ensure the well-being of the organization and its stakeholders.

Functions of a Manager

What are the functions managers do in the organization? In most common, every manager is responsible to do the following five functions.

Planning

As part of the planning function, a manager undertakes the task of charting the path for future actions. This involves carefully developing a roadmap that outlines the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of the planned course of action.

Planning is a cognitive process that requires deep understanding and insight into how things operate. A manager must create effective plans that leverage the organization’s strengths and consider external factors to ensure the attainment of goals.

Organizing

Organizing is the process of constructing a well-functioning organizational framework. It involves optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of all elements within the organization. Managers strive to create the right mix of departments, units, materials, and people while focusing on job design, departmentalization, and fostering coordination.

Staffing

Staffing is a critical function where managers are responsible for effectively managing employees and ensuring that they perform at their best. It is essential to recognize the importance of both managerial and employee competencies.

In staffing, managers focus on placing the right individuals in the appropriate roles within the organization. This ensures that employees are well-suited to their positions, maximizing their potential and contributing to the overall success of the organization.

Directing

The directing function of managers involves providing guidance, instructions, supervision, and leadership to employees, ensuring that their work aligns with the organization’s plans. Effective direction is achieved through tools such as motivation, coordination, and communication, which enable managers to lead and inspire their teams toward achieving desired outcomes.

Controlling

The controlling function of managers involves monitoring and evaluating the progress of executed plans to ensure they are on track. It entails comparing actual results with predetermined standards and taking necessary corrective measures if any discrepancies are identified. Controlling helps managers maintain direction and make adjustments for optimal performance and goal achievement.

Skills and Qualities of a Manager

It is obvious that you should have some skills and qualities when you become a manager so that you can successfully direct, control, and manage people and resources in order to achieve the desired goals.

The followings are the most common qualities every manager needs to have.

Decision-Making Skill

Decision-making is the process of choosing the most favorable option among various alternatives. A manager’s ability to make sound decisions is crucial, as it significantly impacts the progress of work. Effective decision-making skills minimize time and resource utilization, leading to efficient operations and successful outcomes.

Leadership Skill

Leadership skills are vital for managers to succeed in their roles. A manager’s ability to guide and influence people is crucial for fostering acceptance and cooperation. Effective leaders work closely with individuals, using their skills to inspire and motivate others, ultimately driving the success of the team and the organization.

Delegation

Delegation is a valuable skill for managers as it allows them to share their workload effectively. Successful managers understand the importance of delegating tasks to capable subordinates, ensuring that responsibilities are executed with competence. Delegation not only lightens the manager’s workload but also empowers and develops the skills of team members, fostering a more productive and efficient work environment.

Flexibility

Flexibility is a crucial skill for managers to navigate the unpredictable nature of the business environment. Managers need to adapt and adjust their plans and strategies in response to uncertainty. By being flexible, managers can effectively deal with unexpected challenges and changes, ensuring the resilience and success of the organization.

Team Spirit

Building a strong team is an essential skill for managers in the social setting of an organization. A manager must have the ability to create, manage, and lead an effective team. Fostering team spirit is vital for promoting coordination, mutual understanding, and collaboration within the organization, enabling the successful accomplishment of challenging tasks.

Good Communication

Communication is the key in the organization to building stronger and more productive relationships. He should have good communication skills so his intended message gets employees as he seeks.

Why Managers Are Important For Organizational Success?

Managers play a critical role in driving organizational success by supporting their employees and providing the necessary resources for job performance. They lead by example, fostering a positive work environment and encouraging team members to reach their full potential.

Effective managers prioritize the collective success of the team over individual achievements, recognizing that collaboration and teamwork are key to achieving goals. They make decisions with the best interests of the entire organization in mind, considering the impact on all stakeholders.

Additionally, managers are responsible for managing financial resources, ensuring there is adequate funding for various expenses, including employee salaries. By fulfilling these responsibilities, managers contribute to creating a thriving and productive organization.

Leave a Comment