Definition of a Manager A Manager is the person responsible for planning and directing the work of a group of individuals, monitoring their work, and taking corrective action when necessary. A manager can also be an individual who is in charge of a certain group of tasks, or a certain subset of a company. Managers may direct workers directly or they may direct several supervisors who direct the workers. The manager must be familiar with the work of all the groups he/she supervises, but does not need to be the best in any or all of the areas.
It is more important for the manager to know how to manage the workers than to know how to do their work well. A manager may have the power to hire or fire employees or to promote them. In larger companies, a manager may only recommend such action to the next level of management. The manager has the authority to change the work assignments of team members. A manager’s title reflects what he/she is responsible for. An Accounting Manager supervises the Accounting function. An Operations Manager is responsible for the operations of the company.
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Regardless of title, the manager is responsible for planning, directing, monitoring and controlling the people and their work A manager often has a staff of people who report to him or her. As an example, a restaurant will often have a front-of-house manager who helps the patrons, and supervises the hosts. In addition, a specific office project can have a manager, known simply as the project manager. Certain departments within a company designate their managers to be line managers, while others are known as staff managers, depending upon the functionality of the department.
Attributes associated with effective, successful managers are the follows: 1. BASIC KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION a. Command of Basic Facts Successful managers know what’s in their organization. They have a command of such basic facts as goals and plans (long and short-term), product knowledge, who’s who in the organization, the roles and relationships between various departments, their own job and what’s expected of them. If they don’t store all this information, they wouldn’t know where to get it when they need it. b. Relevant Professional Knowledge
This category includes ‘technical’ knowledge, e. g. production technology, marketing techniques, engineering knowledge, relevant legislation, sources of finance, and knowledge of basis background management principles and theories, e. g. planning, organizing and controlling. 2. SKILLS a. Continuing Sensitivity to Events Managers vary in the degree to which they can sense what is happening in a particular situation. The successful manager is relatively sensitive to events and can tune it to what’s going on around him.
He/She is perceptive and open to information – ‘hard’ information, such as figures and facts, and ‘soft’ information, such as the feelings of other people. The manager with this sensitivity is able to respond in an appropriate way to situations as they arise. b. Analytical, Problem-solving, and Decision/judgment making skills The job of the manager is very much concerned with making decisions. Sometimes these can be made using logical, optimizing techniques. Other decisions call for the ability to weigh pros and cons in what is basically a very uncertain or ambiguous situation, calling for a high level of judgment or even intuition.
The manager must therefore develop judgment-making skills, including the ability to cope with ambiguity and uncertainty, striking a balance between the necessity at times to be guided by his/her subjective feelings without throwing objective logic completely out of the window. 3. SOCIAL SKILLS AND ABILITIES One definition of management often cited is ‘getting things done through other people’. This definition may be inadequate, but it does point to one of the key features of the manager’s job – it requires interpersonal skills.
The successful manager develops a range of abilities which are essential in such activities; communicating, delegating, negotiating, resolving conflict, persuading, selling, using and responding to authority and power. 4. PERSONAL QUALITIES a. Emotional Resilience The manager’s job involves a degree of emotional stress and strain, which arises as a natural consequence of working in situations involving authority, leadership, power, interpersonal conflict, meeting targets and deadlines, all within a framework of a degree of uncertainty and ambiguity. The successful manager needs to be sufficiently resilient to cope with this. Resilient’ means that they feel the stress (he/she doesn’t become thick-skinned and insensitive) but is able to cope with it by maintaining self-control and by ‘giving’ to some extent, but not so much that they become permanently deformed. b. Proactivity – Inclination to Respond Purposefully to Events Effective managers have some purpose or goal to achieve, rather than merely responding to demand. They cannot plan everything carefully in advance and, at times, they must respond to the needs of the instant situation – but when making such a response the effective manager considers the long term.
They relate immediate responses to overall and longer-term aims and goals, whereas the less successful manager responds in a relatively unthinking or uncritical way to the immediate pressure. This category of ability also includes such qualities as seeing a job through, being dedicated and committed, having a sense of mission, and taking responsibility for things that happen rather than ‘passing the buck’ to someone else. 5. CREATIVITY By ‘creativity’ we mean the ability to come up with unique new responses to situations, and to have the insight to recognize and take up useful new approaches.
It involves not only having new ideas oneself, but also the ability to recognize a good idea when it is presented from another source. 6. MENTAL AGILITY Although related to general intelligence level, the concept of ‘mental agility’ includes the ability to grasp problems quickly, to think of several things at once, to switch rapidly from one problem or situation to another, to see quickly the whole situation (rather than ponderously plough through all its components), and to ‘think on one’s feet’.
Given the hectic nature of managerial work these are particularly necessary qualities for success. 7. BALANCED LEARNING HABITS AND SKILLS Data collected by observing and interviewing managers show that a significant proportion of the degree of their success can be explained by the presence or absence of habits and skills related to learning. – Successful managers are more independent as learners; they take responsibility for the ‘rightness’ of what is learned, rather than depending, passively and uncritically, on an authority figure (a teacher or an expert) to define ‘truths’. Successful managers are capable of abstract thinking as well as concrete, practical thought. They are able to relate concrete ideas to abstract ones (and vice versa) relatively quickly. This ability – which is sometimes known as a ‘helicopter mind’ – enables the manager to generate his own theories from practice, and to develop his own practical ideas from theory. – The ability to use a range of different learning processes is necessary for managerial success. Three of such processes are: (a) input – receiving expository teaching, either formal (e. . on a course) or informal (e. g. teaching by a colleague); (b) discovery – generating personal meaning from one’s own experiences; (c) reflection – a process of analyzing and re-organizing pre-existing experience and ideas. Successful managers are more likely to have a relatively wide view of the nature of the skills of management. For example, they are more likely to recognise the range of managerial attributes as presented in this model, than to believe that management is a unitary activity, involving, dealing with subordinates (i. e. eeding only a certain set of social skills) or simply involving basic decision making. 8. SELF – KNOWLEDGE Whatever the manager does is in some way affected by his/her own view of their job and role, their goals, values, feelings, their strengths and weaknesses, and a host of other personal or ‘self’ factors. If then, he/she is to retain a relatively high degree of self-control over their actions, they must be aware of these self-attributes and of the part they are playing in determining this behaviour. The successful manager must therefore develop skills of introspection.