A manager is someone who coordinates and oversees the work of other people so that organizational goals can be accomplished. A manager’s job is not about personal achievement- it’s about helping others do their work. That may mean coordinating the work of a departmental group, or it might mean supervising a single person. It could involve coordinating the work activities of a team with people from different departments or even people outside the organization, such as temporary employees or individuals who work for the organizations suppliers.
Manager used to be fairly simple to define who managers were: They were the organizational members who told others what to do and how to do it. It was easy to differentiate managers from non managerial employees. Now, it isn’t quite that simple. In many organizations, the changing nature of work has blurred the distinction between managers and non managerial employees. Many traditional managerial jobs now include managerial activities.
Keep in mind, also, that, managers may have work duties not related to coordinating and overseeing others work. Managers may not be who or what you might expect! Managers can be under the age of 18 to over age 80. They run large corporations as well as entrepreneurial start-ups. They’re found in government departments, hospitals, and small business, not for profit agencies, schools, museums, and even such nontraditional organizations as political campaigns and music tours. Managers can also be found doing managerial work in every country on the globe. In addition, some managers are top level managers while others are first line managers. And today, managers are just as likely to be women as they are men.
WHY Are Managers Important?
A great boss can change your life, inspiring you to new heights both professionally and personally, and energizing you and your team to together overcome new challenges bigger than any one of you could tackle alone. If you have had the opportunity to work with a manager like this, count yourself lucky. Such a manager can make a job a lot more enjoyable and productive. However, even managers who don’t live up to such lofty ideas and expectations are important to organizations. Let’s look at three reasons why.
- The first reason managers are important is that organizations need their managerial skill and abilities more than ever in these uncertain, complex, and chaotic times. As organizations deal with today’s challenges the worldwide economic climate, changing technology, ever increasing globalization, and so forth managers play an important role in identifying critical issues and crafting responses.
- Second reason managers are important to organizations is that they are critical to getting things done. A manager creates and coordinates the workplace systems and conditions so that others can perform those tasks.
- Finally, managers do matter to organizations! How do we know that? The Gallup organization, which has polled millions of employees and ten of thousand of managers, has found that the single most important variable in employee productivity and loyalty isn’t pay or benefits or workplace environment; it’s the quality of the relationship between employees and their direct supervisors. In addition, global consulting firm Towers Watson found that the way a company manages and engages its people can significantly affects its financial performance. Also a recent study of organizational performance found that managerial ability was important in creating organizational value. What can we conclude from such reports? That manager is important and they do matter.
What do Managers do?
Management is what managers do. Management involves coordinating and overseeing the work activities of others so that their activities are completed efficiently and effectively.
Instead management involves ensuring that work activities are completed efficiently and effectively by the people responsible for doing them, or at least that’s what managers aspire to do.
Efficiency refers to getting the most output from the least amount of inputs. Because managers deal with scarce inputs including resource such as people, money, and equipment- they are concerned with the efficient use of those resources. It’s often referred to as “doing things right”- that is not wasting resources.
It’s not enough, however, just to be efficient. Management is also concerned with being effective, completing activities so that organizational goals are attained.
Effectiveness is often described as “doing the right things” – that is, doing those work activities that will help the organization reach its goals. Whereas efficiency is concerned with the means of getting things done, effectiveness is concerned with the ends, or attainment of organizational goals. In successful organizations, high efficiency and high effectiveness typically go hand in hand. Poor management usually involves being inefficient and ineffective or being effective, but inefficient.
Is there a way to classify managers in organizations?
In traditionally structured organizations (which are often pictured as a pyramid because more employees are at lower organizational levels than at upper organizational levels), managers can be classified as first line, middle, and top.
Lower or First Line Managers: At the lowest level of management, first line managers manage the work of non managerial employees who typically are involved with producing the organizations products or servicing the organizations customers. First line managers may be called supervisors or even shift managers, district managers, department managers, or office managers.
Skills: Technical skills are the job specific knowledge and techniques needed to proficiently perform work tasks. These skills tend to be more important for first line managers, because they typically are managing employees who use tools and techniques to produce the organization’s products or service the organization’s customers.
Middle Level Manager: Middle managers manage the work of first line managers and can be found between the lowest and top levels of the organization. They may have titles such as regional manager, project leader, store manager, or division manager. As the general manager, he/she’s responsible for how her restaurant performs, but also is one of about 60 general managers company-wide who report to someone at corporate headquarters.
Skills: Human skills are important for middle level managers, which involve the ability to work well with other people both individually and in a group. Because all managers deal with people, these skills are equally important to all levels of management. Managers with good human skills get the best out of their people.
Top Level Manager: At the upper levels of the organization are top managers, who are responsible for making organization wide decisions and establishing the plans and goals that affect the entire organization. These individuals typically have titles such as executive vice president, president, managing director, chief operating officer, or chief executive officer.
Skills: Top managers needed conceptual skills. Conceptual skills are the skills managers use to think and to conceptualize about abstract and complex situations. Using these skills, managers see the organization as a whole, understand the relationships among various subunits, and visualize how the organization fits into its broader environment.
Not all organizations get work done with a traditional pyramidal form, however. Some organizations are more loosely configured with work being done by ever changing teams of employees who move from one project to another as work demand arise. Although it’s not as easy to tell who the managers are in these organizations, we do know that someone must fulfill that role that is, there must be someone who coordinates and oversees the work of others, even if that someone changes as work tasks or projects change.