Roles and Responsibilities of a Manager Characteristics, Types, Functions

Table of Contents:-

  • Who is a Manager?
  • Characteristics of Managers
  • Level and Types of Manager
  • Function of Manager
  • Roles of a Manager
  • Responsibilities of a Manager

Who is a Manager?

Managers are individuals who fulfil the roles of management. There are several roles and responsibilities of a manager, he is accountable for supervising one or more employees or departments to ensure they effectively and efficiently fulfil assigned duties. A single, dual, or triple management layer might be present depending on the company’s size.

In large companies, management is divided into upper or senior management, mid-management, and lower management. Lower management comprises managers operating at basic business operations or functions. Mid-level management monitors the performance of lower-level management and prepares reports for senior management.

Senior management comprises shareholders or a Board of Directors who own the company and are responsible for making critical decisions that affect the company.

A managerial position holds more responsibility than a regular employee and generally commands a higher wage. Advanced managerial positions typically require a degree and experience, although companies may vary in their structures and requirements.

Characteristics of Managers

Not all managers are successful. Successful managers have certain characteristics that create an environment conducive to success for both themselves and their team members. Some of the more important key personal characteristics for managerial success are as follows:

Characteristics of managers are listed below:

  1. Personal Characteristics
  2. Communication Characteristics
  3. Business Characteristics
  4. Relationship Characteristics

1) Personal Characteristics

Desirable traits make a manager someone others can look up to and feel comfortable with. The following are the major ones:

i) Self-motivation: An effective manager cannot motivate others if they cannot motivate themselves. Self-motivation is the ability to propel oneself forward and take charge of one’s path, which is a vital personal characteristic for a manager.

ii) Integrity: People trust a good manager because they know they possess personal integrity. Workers need assurance that the manager will advocate for them, uphold their promises, and adhere to the rules.

iii) Reliability: As a leader, the manager should be reliable. Others in the organization should be able to rely on the manager.

iv) Confidence: Managers must make decisions confidently and demonstrate their capability to make good decisions for others. Their confidence can inspire and benefit the people around them.

v) Flexibility: Managers require a certain degree of flexibility, as they may need to adapt to changing situations.

2) Business Characteristics

Some level of business understanding is essential for managers. Given below are the main characteristics of business:

i) Industry Knowledge: This knowledge helps managers to understand the industry effectively. It enables them to answer questions and perform their work more efficiently. While workers may not necessarily require industry knowledge, a manager must possess a certain level of expertise in the field.

ii) Know When to Delegate: An effective manager understands that specific tasks must be delegated. Managers should be able to identify workers who will excel and assign them tasks in which they can succeed, thereby enhancing the project.

iii) Organization: Being organized is essential for being a good manager. Managers should keep track of projects, employees, and assignments to ensure they stay on top of what needs to happen in the business.

iv) Business Hierarchy: Managers should understand how the hierarchy functions within their business and adhere to the chain of command. Additionally, managers should comprehend how the organisational structure impacts their subordinates.

3) Communication Characteristics

A good manager needs to communicate effectively. Here are some qualities to possess if one wants to be an effective manager:

i) Written Communication: A good manager should be able to write professionally and with impeccable grammar, effectively conveying thoughts and ideas through emails, memos, and thank-you notes.

ii) Public Speaking: As a good manager, one should know how to speak publicly, enunciate words, and concisely communicate ideas, whether in an interview or when addressing workers.

iii) Active Listening: One of the most important communication skills is listening actively. Good managers ensure that they listen to workers, superiors, and customers and acknowledge them.

4) Relationship Characteristics: The following relationship characteristics are found in good managers:

i) Customer Service: To be a good manager, one must build good customer relationships.

ii) Mediator: Often, a skilled manager must mediate between team members, facilitating communication between employees and clients and fostering positive relationships between supervisors and staff.

iii) Team Player: To succeed as an effective manager, one must be part of a team.

iv) Respect: A manager must respect their workers to earn respect in return.

Level and Types of Manager

Managers use a combination of human, conceptual and technical skills to effectively execute the four key functions of management such as planning, organising, leading and controlling. These organizations can range from large and small, manufacturing and service industries, profit and non-profit sectors, and traditional and internet-based enterprises. However, not all managers perform these functions.

Managers are responsible for overseeing various departments, and multiple works performed at different levels within the organizational structure. They are even responsible for meeting different requirements for achieving high performance. The level and types of managers can be discussed in the vertical and horizontal directions.

1) Vertical Direction

An essential determinant of the manager’s hierarchical level includes top, middle, and first-line managers, which are described as follows:

i) Top Managers: These are positioned at the top of the organizational structure and are responsible for managing the entire organisation. They hold prestigious titles such as president, chairperson, executive director, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and executive vice president. Top managers are responsible for establishing organisational goals and developing strategies to achieve those goals. They also monitor and interpret the external environment, and make decisions that affect the overall organisational success. They focus on the long-term future and concern themselves with general environmental trends as well as the overall success of the organization. 

One of the most important responsibilities for top managers is to shape organisational culture, communicate a shared vision for the organisation and nurture an entrepreneurial spirit that can help the company innovate and keep pace with rapid change. In today’s business environment, top managers must engage the unique knowledge, skills, and capabilities of each employee.

ii) Middle Managers: These individuals operate at the organisation’s middle levels and are responsible for business units and central departments. Examples of Middle managers include division heads, department heads, research lab directors and quality control managers. Middle managers typically oversee two or more levels of management below them. They are responsible for executing senior management’s overall strategies and policies. Middle managers generally focus on short-term goals and objectives rather than long-term strategic planning.

The role of the middle manager has evolved over the past two decades. Many organizations have enhanced their efficiency by reducing middle management positions and levels. Traditional pyramidal organizational charts have been flattened to improve the efficiency of information flow and decision making processes from top to bottom.

Despite the reduction in middle management levels, the role of middle managers in many organizations has become much more crucial. They manage the flow of information within an organization and create horizontal networks that facilitate quick action. Research indicates that middle managers play a critical role in fostering innovation and reducing organizational adaptation to rapid changes in the business environment.

iii) First-Line Managers: These individuals are directly responsible for producing goods and services. They occupy the first or second level of management within an organization, holding titles such as supervisor, line manager, section chief, and office manager. They oversee groups of non-management employees and are responsible for implementing rules and procedures to achieve efficient production, offering technical support, and inspiring team members. This level’s time horizon is short, focusing on attaining daily objectives. This managerial role involves motivating and guiding young, often inexperienced workers, assisting as needed, and ensuring adherence to company policies.

2) Horizontal Direction

Another primary basis for delineating the types of managers is the horizontal direction, described below:

i) Functional Managers: These managers are responsible for managing departments that specialize in performing a single functional task. They lead teams of employees who have similar training and skills. Functional departments include sales, finance, advertising, manufacturing, human resources, and accounting. Line managers oversee manufacturing and marketing departments involved in producing and promoting the product or service. In contrast, staff managers are responsible for overseeing departments such as finance and human resources that provide support to line departments.

ii) General Managers: These managers oversee several departments with different functions and responsibilities. A general manager is responsible for a self-contained division, such as a General Motors assembly plant, and for all its functional departments. Project managers are essential in overseeing and managing various aspects of a project, coordinating people across several departments to achieve a common goal.

Function of Manager

The main function of a manager is as follows. The functions of the manager are listed below:

  1. Setting Objectives and Planning
  2. Organling the Group
  3. Motivating and communicating
  4. Measuring performance
  5. Developing People
  6. Arrangement of Capital
  7. Establishment of Effective Co-Ordination Control

1) Setting Objectives and Planning

This function includes determining objectives aligned with the corporate vision and mission statement and establishing goals for each area of objectives. Managers also decide what needs to be done to achieve the objectives and communicate them to the individuals whose performance is necessary to attain them.

2) Organizing the Group

The following function of managers is to analyze the activities, decisions and relationships needed to attain the set objectives. They classify the work, divide it into manageable activities and break down these activities into manageable jobs. Then, they group units and employment into an organizational structure. Finally, they select people to manage the units and the jobs to be done.

3) Motivating and Communicating

This is an important function of managers to motivate and empower employees. They make a team of people who are assigned to different roles and responsibilities. A manager also empowers employees and motivates them to follow through on strategic focus. They take relationship responsibility and maintain the relations in the organisation. This function also includes making people’s decisions on pay, placement, and promotion and communicating constantly to and from their subordinates, superiors, and colleagues.

4) Measuring Performance

These include establishing a few factors and yardsticks that are important for the performance of the organisation and every employee in it. It makes the measurements focused on the performance of the whole organisation and every individual available to each staff member, analysing, appraising, and interpreting performance. Finally, they communicate the meaning of the measurements and their findings to subordinates, superiors, and colleagues.

5) Developing People

A manager develops people within the organization, including themselves. The manager relies on others to get the job done and achieve objectives. Therefore, they are responsible for assisting group members and facilitating their progression.

6) Establishment of Effective Coordination and Control

An essential function of a manager is to establish effective coordination and control within the organization to ensure that chaos does not disrupt operations and that the organization achieves its objectives smoothly.

7) Arrangement of Capital

The manager is solely responsible for estimating the required amount of capital for the business organization. After estimation, the manager takes the necessary steps to arrange the capital at the minimum cost. They are responsible for collecting funds and investing them in a manner that yields proper returns.

Roles of a Manager

To fulfil the diverse functional responsibilities, managers assume multiple roles. A role is an organized or structured collection of behaviours. Henry Mintzberg has identified ten roles typical to all managers’ work. These ten roles are categorized into three different groups: interpersonal, informational, and decisional.

The interpersonal roles ensure effective communication of information, while the informational roles connect all aspects of managerial work. The decisional roles rely heavily on the information provided.

The requirements of managerial roles can vary depending on the levels and functions of management. A manager may fulfil these roles to different degrees depending on the level and function of management. Each of the ten roles is described individually but collectively forms a cohesive unit.

1) Interpersonal Roles

A manager must assume different roles to fulfil their responsibilities. The three interpersonal roles primarily focus on managing relationships with others.

i) Figurehead: The manager performs various ceremonial duties such as greeting visiting dignitaries, hosting important customers for lunch, attending employee weddings and more.

ii) Leader: To create a positive work environment and drive productivity within the team, every manager must motivate and encourage their employees as a leader. They must also strive to align individual needs with the organization’s goals.

iii) Liaison: Managers must establish connections and build relationships outside their vertical chain of command to gather valuable information and resources for their organization.

2) Informational Roles

The three major informational roles which are given below are primarily focused on the information aspects of managerial responsibilities.

i) Monitor: The manager is responsible for continuously scanning the business environment for information, interacting with their liaison contacts and subordinates, and being receptive to unsolicited information. This information is often obtained through their developed network of personal contacts.

ii) Disseminator: The manager strategically distributes confidential information directly to their subordinates, providing them access to important details.

iii) Spokesperson: The manager communicates and addresses the needs of various groups and stakeholders that impact the organization. Thus, they inform shareholders about financial performance, reassure consumer groups that the organization is fulfilling its social responsibility, and ensure compliance with government regulations.

3) Decisional Roles

The exclusive access to information positions the manager at the centre of organizational decision-making. There are four decisional roles:

i) Entrepreneur: The manager constantly seeks out new ideas and strives to enhance the unit by adapting it to ever-changing conditions in the business environment.

ii) Disturbance Handler: The manager must tackle unforeseen challenges like a skilled firefighter. They must seek solutions to various unanticipated problems such as potential strikes, the sudden bankruptcy of a key customer, or even a supplier failing to fulfil their contract.

iii) Resource Allocator: The manager must effectively distribute tasks, assign responsibilities, and delegate authority among their team members. They must decide how to allocate resources and determine which team members will be assigned specific tasks.

iv) Negotiator: In the role of negotiator, the manager acts as the representative during negotiations on behalf of the organization. Top-level managers make decisions about the organization as a whole, while supervisors make decisions that pertain to their specific work units.

Responsibilities of a Manager

The manager gets the things done through others. He prepares plans, builds an organisation, and helps and motivates the employees according to plans to achieve organisational goals. The manager is responsible for any work that is not performed. He is accountable to all stakeholders. Some of the major responsibilities of a manager are given below:

  1. Planning of Work
  2. Proper and Effective Communication
  3. Co-ordination of Efforts
  4. Getting Co-operation of Employees
  5. Encourages a Team Spirit
  6. Better Utilisation of Resources
  7. Selecting the Procedure
  8. Maintaining Good Human Relations
  9. Solve the Problem
  10. Arranging Training and Development Facilities

1) Planning of Work

The manager must identify the tasks necessary to achieve the objectives. Each task should be aimed at the achievement of specific goals. The manager is responsible for the work planning.

2) Proper and Effective Communication

There must be a free flow of communication within the organization. If there are any obstacles, the manager must find and eliminate them. Communication gaps and misunderstandings are identified and addressed to ensure proper and effective communication.

3) Coordination of Efforts

The efforts of employees hold more value than finances. Financial success can be achieved through dedication, hard work and staying committed to your goals. However, if efforts are adequately coordinated, all the hard work goes to good use. Once again, efforts cannot be generated and utilized. Therefore, the manager should establish a system that is correctly set up to streamline and direct efforts effectively.

4) Getting the Cooperation of Employees

Various natures of employees work in an organization. Cooperation among employees is necessary to improve performance and achieve objectives on time. Hence, the manager is responsible for ensuring collaboration among employees under their supervision. 

5) Encouraging a Team Spirit

The manager not only guides the employees but also fosters a team spirit among them. Team spirit is cultivated through the use of courteous language. The manager should understand which approach fosters a sense of teamwork among the employees.

6) Better Utilization of Resources

The resources of any organization are limited. Certain items may have more resources available, while others have limited resources. Therefore, the manager should assess the available resources and utilize them to the maximum extent possible. No resources should be wasted under any circumstances.

7) Selecting the Procedure

Top management executives formulate the policy and goals of an organization. However, the top management needs help deciding how to achieve these objectives. There are multiple ways available to achieve the objectives. Nevertheless, the manager is responsible for selecting a more suitable and adaptable procedure.

8) Maintaining Good Human Relations

The managers represent themselves and the top management team. Employees from various departments approach the manager for different reasons. They are responsible for promoting positive relationships with employees and ensuring a harmonious work environment within the team.

9) Solving Problems

Sometimes problems may arise among employees. Employees feel satisfied and motivated when the manager understands the situation and takes immediate steps to solve it.

10) Arranging Training and Development Facilities

The manager should arrange training and development facilities for the benefit of the organization and employees. Training and development programs benefit not only the employee but also the organization. Therefore, it is the manager’s responsibility to arrange training and development opportunities for employees.

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