What Is a Manager? Definition, Role and Responsibilities

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 31 August 2021

Managers play an important role in the overall success of a company. They are responsible for leading a team of employees to meet goals and achieve performance metrics. If you want to become a manager, it's helpful to understand what the job is like and a career path you can take. In this article, we explore the answer to 'What is a manager?' along with information about the various types of managers, and how to become one.

What is a manager?

A manager is a professional who takes a leadership role in an organisation and manages a team of employees. Often, managers are responsible for managing a specific department in their company. There are many types of managers, but they usually have duties like conducting performance reviews and making decisions. Managers are often the line of communication between a company's employees and its high-level executives.

What are the job responsibilities and duties of a manager?

A manager's daily responsibilities may vary depending on the industry where they work. However, some common responsibilities of managers across different sectors can include:

Leading a team

A key responsibility of a manager is leading their team. They give direction to their employees and answer their questions. They also delegate tasks to specific employees and ensure that projects stay on track. Great managers commit to the role of being a fair leader to help increase their teams' productivity.

Training employees

Managers are often responsible for training their employees to perform their job duties and learn new skills. They might also offer them professional development opportunities. Often, managers also act as mentors to their employees and teach them skills that they can use as they advance their careers.

Making decisions

Another duty of a manager is making decisions for their department. Sometimes, managers make difficult decisions, so it's important for them to have a strong decision-making process. This can help them make the best possible decisions for the success of their departments. Often, managers communicate with their employees and other people at their company to help them make the best decisions.

Managing conflicts

Managers also address conflicts when necessary, including conflicts between members of their team. This means that they usually exercise conflict resolution skills and mediate workplace conflicts. This can help them maintain a positive work environment for their team.

Managing their department's budget

Managers sometimes take responsibility for their department's budget and using finance and accounting tools. They may meet with other professionals to create budgets. They can also determine how much funding their department needs to operate.

Conducting performance reviews

Another major responsibility of managers is conducting performance reviews for their employees. Usually, performance reviews occur on a periodic basis. In performance reviews, managers give their employees feedback and suggestions on how they can improve. They might also help their employees set goals or track their progress on meeting goals.

Related: What Is a Performance Review and Why Does It Matter?

Hiring new employees

Managers also frequently work with their company's human resources department to hire new employees. They may identify job candidates, conduct interviews and extend job offers. Typically, great managers know how to tell if a job candidate is the right fit for their team, as they know what skills and qualities people need in order to excel in their department.

Types of managers

There are several different types of managers, including:

Top managers

Top managers are usually involved with their company's overall strategy. They may oversee many departments. They are also responsible for making sure that different tasks and projects align with the overarching mission of their company.

General managers

General managers are responsible for a variety of management tasks, including overseeing product production. They typically set goals for their employees and create product plans. Usually, a general manager's overall goal is to increase their company's revenue.

Line managers

Line managers are responsible for achieving specific outputs. Typically, their responsibilities relate to their company's products or services. Line managers often communicate with a company's upper management and report results to them.

Team managers

Team managers, which may be referred to as supervisors, are responsible for overseeing specific groups or functions of an organisation. They may be tasked with supervising projects or keeping teams on track. Like line managers, team managers also report results to a company's upper management.

Related: Management Styles: Overview and Examples

Skills for managers

To be a successful manager, you may consider developing the following skills:

Leadership

Leadership is a core skill for managers, as one of their major job responsibilities is leading their team. Managers often lead by example, encouraging their employees to mirror their actions and work ethic. To become a great leader, you can work on developing qualities like:

  • Motivation: Managers with leadership skills know how to motivate their employees. They may use incentives to keep their employees motivated, such as employee of the month programs or other rewards.

  • Positivity: Great leaders also maintain a positive attitude and encourage their employees to do the same. They think optimistically and show positivity when they interact with others.

  • Confidence: Confidence can equip leaders to handle difficult situations and lead their employees effectively. It can help them make strong decisions and lead by example.

  • Resilience: Leaders are also resilient. This means that they can keep leading effectively even in difficult circumstances.

  • Delegation: Delegation is another skill of great leaders, as it enables them to reassign tasks to the right employees and free up their own time for other tasks.

Related: 14 Leadership Qualities That Are Found in Great Leaders

Communication

Managers also need communication skills to succeed at their jobs, as they frequently communicate with both their employees and other members of their company. Usually, managers also need written communication skills, as they may be responsible for writing reports and emails. Active listening is also categorised as a communication skill, and it's important for managers to have this skill to communicate effectively. Active listening includes eye contact, body language and smiling.

Decision-making

Managers often have to make tough decisions for their teams, so strong decision-making skills are essential. Often, managers develop their own decision-making processes to help them handle decisions and other issues in the workplace. Great managers are also willing to ask other people at the company for feedback as they make decisions.

Relationship-building

Great managers also build relationships with their employees. They may do this through frequent communication with their employees as well as relationship-building exercises. When managers form strong relationships with their employees, it can help increase mutual trust and boost employee morale.

Customer service

Customer service skills can also be useful for managers. Sometimes, managers communicate directly with their company's customers, acting as a communication line between the customers and the upper management of the company. This makes customer service skills helpful, including skills like empathy, patience and persuasion.

Related: Management Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a manager

Here are five key steps you can follow to become a manager:

1. Choose your career path

There are many ways you can choose your career path, and it's helpful to choose a career that aligns with your interests and core values. You can also research different career paths online and talk to people in different industries to get an idea of your career interests. This way, you can decide what industry is the best fit for you.

Related: How To Choose the Right Career Path

2. Get your education

Another key step to becoming a manager is to get an education that aligns with the industry you want to enter. In many industries, managers need at least a bachelor's degree, so this can be a good place to start. You can also get a degree that allows you to work in a range of industries, such as business management. Other options could include finance, accounting and related degrees.

3. Build your professional network

Try to network with managers in various industries through networking events. You can find events that relate to your industry to make the most valuable connections. These connections may help you find a job in the future.

4. Gain experience

Aim to gain professional experience in the industry that you want to enter. You can gain professional experience through internships, entry-level positions and volunteering. You can also start at a company with the goal of working your way up to a managerial role.

5. Set SMART career goals

SMART is a method you can use to develop your career goals. The abbreviation represents the following:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Relevant

  • Time-based

Setting SMART goals can help you stay on track toward becoming a manager. Try to measure your progress periodically to see what changes you can make to reach your goals. For example, one of your SMART goals might be, "I will get promoted to manager within three years of working for this company."