With very few exceptions, the manager’s tasks and functions are generic in nature irrespective of the size and nature of the organization but they are also interrelated.
At the most fundamental level a manager is expected to plan, organize, staff, lead and control efforts in pursuit of a particular goal or objective. Remove any one of these functions or the ability to direct any one of these functions and you no longer have a manager.
There is a long held assumption on the part of junior staff, that a manager position is the number one position to aspire to. That, a manager in some way holds a loftier and more meaningful position than an individual contributor however this assumption could not be further from the truth.
Just as an army needs generals and foot soldiers, an organization needs manager and individual contributors. In very flat organizations there simply may be fewer managers and even those few that there are, are also individual contributors.
The Manager role
Managers are a specific group of people responsible for pursuing the objectives of the organization.
Setting targets, making plans, providing resources and making sure that the targeted results are achieved.
Everyone from the chief executive down to the line manager is part of a management structure, for the difference between them is usually one degree of separation.
The C-level executive plans strategically and for long-range objectives.
The supervisory line manager is concerned with immediate objectives and results. Accumulative results at the work-group level achieve the raw tactical objectives of the company as a whole.
A line manager, foreman or supervisor is therefore a part of management and is involved in exactly the same type of responsibilities as a C level executive.
Routinely he must define his teams objectives, decide the execution plan at an operational level; divide up and assign the work to be done and establish the procedures for physically getting the work done.
A large part of the line manager role is keeping staff current and aware of the objectives and achievements of the group; instruct and motivate team members execute their duties and tasks and marshal the activities of the team in order to ensure that they integrate appropriately with other teams and groups.
Assessment of success, failure and remediation is part of the role together with review and corrective actions as required
Depending on the specific job, there may be what are considered ‘technical’ duties as part of the day-to-day job of a manager. Such duties many include quality assurance,meeting productivity targets, reviewing and enforcing discipline and ensuring work practices are safe and compliant.
These are functional activities which are also supervisory responsibilities.
Whether a supervisor is in charge of a call center team, a factory workshop, a grocery store or in an office, the supervisory responsibilities are largely the same. Specific functional activities vary according the nature of the job.
About the author
Clinton Jones has experience in international enterprise technology and business process on four continents and has a focus on integrated enterprise business technologies, business change and business transformation. Clinton also serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance. In past roles Clinton has worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits across the globe.