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What a manager really does

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A manager’s job is extremely difficult to pin down. Job descriptions exist, and differ from one to the next. The job is fragmented and constantly changing, even as the day progresses.Planning can be difficult with so many interruptions and often it is difficult to get done what needs to get done. On top of that, if the manager is “fighting fires” and dealing with crises and unforeseen events, then getting tasks done becomes even more of a problem.

The job description for a manager also changes depending on what industry they are in, what type of “organizational culture” they are part of and whether they are junior or senior in the organization. It can also depend on factors including how the manager gets rewarded, their own personality and whether they work in a for-profit or not-for-profit organization.

Most of the time, the term “manager” is used to describe someone who supervises others such as a team or area leader, front-line supervisor, department head, officer or managing director.

Management functions

Managers are involved in four main functions: planning, organizing, leading and controlling.

  • Planning: Managers have to plan what they want to accomplish and develop specific actions in order to reach those goals.
  • Organizing: Managers must figure out how many people are needed to get the jobs and tasks done. They also determine how the job flow happens (who does what). Generally, we talk about what kind of structure will be put in place to get these tasks done.

Management Basics

To find out more about management, read our eBook "Management Basics".

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