What Are the Primary Responsibilities of a Manager?
By Jennifer Herrity
Updated June 21, 2022 | Published October 7, 2019
Updated June 21, 2022
Published October 7, 2019
Jennifer Herrity is a career coach at Indeed who has worked with job seekers from various industries over the last 12 years. She creates resources to help people navigate career challenges with tools and techniques she has refined through practical experience.
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This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach
Managers exist at many different levels of an organization. The term “manager” can refer to managing people in a leadership role, or managing projects and tasks. Whether you’re interviewing for the position of manager or simply wondering what a management position entails, it’s helpful to understand the scope of this role.
In this article, we discuss common management responsibilities and a manager’s role within a business.
Leadership responsibilities of a manager
One of the most obvious roles of a people manager is providing leadership for the employees they oversee. Being a good leader is a complex task, and it’s critical the professionals in these roles set a positive example.
For example, a people manager shouldn’t expect others to be punctual when they are consistently arriving late to meetings themselves. Instead, they should meet organizational expectations and inspire their direct reports to perform at their best.
Good leaders must also be effective communicators. You can’t guide others successfully if they don’t understand your expectations. The best leaders can communicate clearly, concisely and respectfully.
Additionally, managers are also often responsible for delegation. The manager can’t take on all the responsibilities of the staff, so it’s critical they can identify who is best equipped for each duty and delegate tasks appropriately.
Here are several additional responsibilities that typically fall under management roles:
Managers are responsible for setting goals that align with organizational objectives. These professionals must also develop and implement actionable strategies to help their team meet those targets.
To ensure their team successfully reaches their goals, managers should do the following:
Clearly communicate the goal to employees.
Select the right individuals for each task.
Motivate employees to reach each objective.
Set appropriate deadlines.
Check in with employees to ensure they’re making progress.
Set key performance indicators to measure success.
Regularly review performance metrics.
Make strategy adjustments as necessary.
The best managers continually reevaluate their goal-setting strategies and seek ways to make sure employees are working in the best and most efficient way possible.
Effective managers are proactive, not reactive, about goal-setting. They look for opportunities to adjust their tasks and objectives, assessing and adjusting often.
Related: Guide to OKRs
Training and development
Managers are typically responsible for training new employees as well as employees who have been promoted to a new position. They’re usually also tasked with training their team on new processes and procedures. Regardless of the type of training, the best managers are typically those who are personally engaged throughout the training process.
Great managers find ways to incorporate ongoing training throughout the employee’s tenure with the company, always challenging and motivating employees to grow their skills. This includes offering encouragement, providing constructive feedback and performing regular assessments. Managers that are closely engaged with their employees will have a deeper understanding of where they can improve and can identify opportunities for further education, training and development.
Related: The Importance of Positive Feedback
Managers are often responsible for handling several administrative tasks. These types of responsibilities often vary depending on the job. For example, a restaurant manager might have to plan menus, manage reservations, and complete documentation about hygiene and health requirements. Hotel managers will often handle room bookings and customer emails.
Depending on the organization and position, these duties might include:
Filling out schedules
Completing and filing paperwork for new hires
Preparing training materials
Creating or distributing marketing materials
Completing appropriate paperwork for licensing or legal requirements
Recording employee accomplishments
Handling expenses and managing budgets
Managers need to be organized and task-oriented. And while leaders may often delegate many of their administrative responsibilities to other employees, they must understand how to complete these tasks so they can develop effective procedures.
Team and individual organization
Managers are tasked with keeping the workplace organized and efficient both for themselves and for their team. This may include tasks like:
Organizing employee’s schedules and assignments
Maintaining the training schedule
Keeping resources properly filed
Tracking goals and achievements
Ensuring essential tools and equipment are well-organized and easily accessible
Managers are responsible for setting up the workspace and streamlining employee processes to promote greater efficiency. If their team or department is performing optimally, it’s up to the manager to identify the challenges and develop effective solutions.
The manager’s role in the business hierarchy
Generally, a CEO or president sits at the top of a company and is primarily responsible for high-level, broad-reaching issues such as corporate strategy and company policy. There may be a full c-suite supporting the CEO, including roles such as chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, chief technical officer and more. VP and director-level professionals usually report to the c-suite, and there may be additional managers overseeing various teams or projects within each department.
Depending on the organization, mid-level managers are often responsible for not only managing employees, but also sometimes handling the same duties as their team members. For example, while a customer service representative may interact with customers more regularly, a customer service manager may be called in to settle a customer dispute or concern. Managers can also act as a bridge between employees and upper-level management. They’re often responsible for reporting how their team is performing and will advocate on behalf of their team to secure the resources and support they need.
Essential skills for managers
Managers must be responsible, professional and able to motivate others to work together towards a common goal. Here are several essential management skills:
Leadership is one of the most critical skills for success as a manager. People in management positions must be capable of helping drive employees to meet goals, motivate them through challenges and ensure they have all the support they need to excel in their jobs.
A leader cannot be successful without well-developed communication skills. Managers must be able to clearly communicate tasks, goals, expectations and company objectives. Managers must also master the skill of constructive criticism to encourage employees to address areas of opportunity.
3. Time management
Managers must be able to effectively manage their time as well as their team’s time. Because they are often tasked with handling many responsibilities at once, they should be highly organized. Those in management must assess all the tasks on their agenda, prioritize them appropriately and come up with an efficient strategy for completing them. Understanding how to make the most of the time that’s available to you will help you excel in any management position.
Employees need to know they can turn to their managers for help. Managers should make themselves available to employees and provide the support they need. When managers are reliable and easy to reach, their team members feel more confident and secure. It’s also essential that managers remain level-headed and professional, even in the face of stressful challenges.
Managers are responsible for making many decisions, both small and significant. As a manager, you may have to make major choices on short notice, and it’s your responsibility to determine the best course of action for your team and the organization as a whole. You need to act with confidence during the decision-making process. Decisiveness in critical moments is key to effective leadership.
Successful managers are industry experts who have the knowledge and skills to assist their employees however necessary. For example, a retail manager should be able to confidently manage the cash register, stock the floor and take on custodial duties when a store is understaffed.
Being able to step in and assist your employees will also help earn their respect. Taking the time to learn about others’ jobs will also equip you with empathy for your employees so you can effectively respond to their struggles and help them reach solutions.
If you’re interested in a job as a manager, honing these skills will help prepare you for the responsibilities of this position. While management can be challenging, it’s also a rewarding career path where you’ll enjoy many opportunities to make an impact on the organization as well as those you lead.
Related: What Makes a Good Leader? Best Tips & Growth Strategies
Jenn, a career coach, explains what leadership is, essential leadership behaviors, skills and styles, and how to identify the right approach for your workplace.
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