What is Management and what do Managers do?By
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So this is your first role as a Manager.
Exciting isn’t it? Are you excited and just a little nervous as the same time?
You are entitled to be, you know.
I remember my first day as a Manager.
It was Monday and suddenly I was in charge of staff and friends. People who, on the previous Friday, I worked alongside.
I am going back a few years and it was in the days when all Managers had an office. Mine, at the time, was a glass office. Everyone could see in and I could see everyone.
I strode into my office. It was early. Staff members were already in and working.
“Morning, boss” they all shouted back.
Then…do I shut my office door or keep it open, I thought?
Keep it open…in case someone wants to talk to me.
The layout of my office meant I had my back to the door. Is that OK? Or should I be facing the door…I don’t know. What’s right? What’s wrong?
“Tap, tap, tap” – on the door.
“Sorry to trouble you Andrew, but Shirley has phoned in sick. She sounded awful and won’t be for a few days”
“Shirley? She’s working on that major project being delivered at the end of the week, isn’t she?”
“Yes, that’s right”
“Does anyone else know what’s needed for the project to be delivered?”
“Don’t think so”
“Have to let the customer know, I suppose”
“Yes, you will” came the reply.
Welcome to the world of Management.
Your career starts here. It will be challenging, exciting, changing, hard-work, full of surprises, stressful and very, very rewarding.
So, what is Management and what do Managers do?
To know what a manager is, it is of primary importance to know what a manager does.
While conducting a job interview, the general manager asked a young man, “What do you eventually want to be?”
The young man answered without hesitation. “I want to be a manager.”
The general manager smiled. “And just what is a manager?”
“I don’t know – I just want to be one.”
What does a manager do?
A manager manages things, money and people. Of the three, the management of people is the most difficult. To manage the other two – things and money – the manager must work with and through people. For this reason, the manager’s job activities are, for the most part, concerned with the management of people.
All managers perform the same job activities. Rank makes no difference. The duties are the same for a high level executive as for an entry level supervisor. However, the time spent on each activity and the importance given to each will differ considerably.
The following list of job activities will show how they relate to various managers.
1. Planning: Before any action is taken, a plan is made. Planning for a large production increase will take most of an executive’s time. There will likely be many meetings and conferences to attend. The executive may sit at a desk for hours, thinking through a myriad of notes and figures. At the same time, a shop manager may also be making plans. There will be space adjustments to be made; there will be additional employees and training schedules. Time, space, people and production – these are the puzzle pieces that must be fitted into the shop manager’s plans. Some of the planning will take place while driving to and from work, or while taking a shower. The shop manager must, of course, get on with daily duties. This boss is not paid to sit in the office just to make great plans.
2. Analysing: This activity is the examination and interpretation of various kinds of data. Some managers analyse a vast accumulation of records and reports that flow daily from various sections of the organization. A line supervisor may study only one daily report. One manager may spend several hours at analysing data, while another manager may need to spend only a few moments. But in all instances, sharply focused concentration is required.
3. Reporting: Daily activities and their results must be reported. The reports are generally in writing. Oral reports are difficult to analyse and share with others, and are impossible to file. Some reports are of such a complex nature that they may take days to prepare. Simple printed forms are used for some reports. These require only that a manager fill in the blank spaces.
One solid way a manager can cover the reporting aspect of the job is to have staff use some variety of workforce management software. This will easily keep track of all the relevant information in a project while saving time and helping to increase productivity.
4. Staffing: An executive will determine the manpower needs of an organization. A personnel manager will recruit and play a major role in the hiring of qualified people to fill the job openings. A work group manager must occasionally shuffle employees around so as to better accomplish the work to be done. This too, is staffing.
5. Training: It is unreasonable to expect employees to do their jobs if they don’t know how. Therefore, every manager throughout an organization is involved in some way with the process of training. Executives write policies and rules; other managers write methods and procedures; still others serve as instructors. Many managers believe that the training of employees is their most important, most challenging, and most rewarding work.
6. Direct Supervision: The result of the employees’ efforts, over any recorded period of time, can be read from reports. Some managers rely on hoped for results to be favourable. All too frequently, a manager’s hope turns to despair when results are reported as poor. Poor results cannot be reversed. It is too late. Good results are shaped by direct supervision, as the work progresses. A manager who supervises closely is in a position to see what is happening and to make corrections as needed.
7. Expediting: When all workers are adequately trained – when they are qualified, competent, and at their jobs – there should be no need for a manager to expedite work. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Things do go wrong, and when they do, a manager has to make a choice: do nothing and let the work pile up, or expedite? Expediting is the giving of assistance so as to speed up a work process, or finish some task. Expediting, by name, is generally not written as one of a manager’s duties. Nevertheless, when employees are incapable of completing a job on time, a manager is expected to give assistance willingly. However, if a manager finds that expediting occurs too frequently, there may be a different and even greater problem. The problem may be in the manner by which the manager manages other activities.
8. Personal Production: Some managers think that they should not have any personal production. Some managers make this a fact – they don’t do anything. The true fact is, every manager has something to do that no one else can or should do. One manager’s personal production may be approving bills, signing checks, and making final decisions. Another manager may be responsible for personally taking critical measurements, making critical repairs, or processing special accounts. Whatever it is, a manager’s personal production is not to be given away to anyone else without the approval of a higher authority.
Still want to be a Manager?