Quick answer: A manager is responsible for overseeing a specific department within a company, ensuring its overall effectiveness. A typical company is made up of production, research and development, purchasing, marketing and sales, human resources as well as accounting and finance departments. A manager is considered a leader within the organization.

This common definition, however, is almost thoroughly unhelpful.

So, let’s explore the longer answer…

What does a Manager do?

A better question might be: “what does a manager do to ensure their department is effective and successful?”

This depends on the organization and their priorities. When bringing on a manager, you should carefully consider how you intend to utilize and make the most of their strengths and personality.

Typical responsibilities for a manager include:

Administration

  • Managers will complete the department’s administrative work and communicate with other departments as required.

Communication

  • Managers often act as the liaison between the department they are overseeing and their bosses.
  • Managers are responsible for motivating their team.
  • Mangers will delegate tasks to the appropriate parties to ensure efficiency and accuracy .

Evaluation

  • Managers evaluate relevant data and employee performance to ensure the department is performing as it should.

Operations

  • A manager’s primary responsibility is to ensure the department or group of employees is functioning and performing as it should. Vague, but true.
  • Managers will enforce company policy to ensure the integrity of a company.

Strategy

  • A manager will create short- and long-term goals for the department.

Staffing

  • Many employers will put managers in charge of interviewing, hiring and training new hires for their department.

Training

  • A manager will train their team on new technologies and systems.

The Problem with Positional Leadership

Contrary to popular wisdom, a manager’s job isn’t to grandstand over employees, micromanage, or even delegate responsibilities they don’t want to do, even though this is how many unhappy employees, have come to recognize managers.

Of course, as an entrepreneur, this the last thing you want. When you bring on a manager, you want them to take full responsibility for a department and its performance – not act like they are the head honcho.

For a manager to be effective long-term, it’s important that they engage in ongoing leadership training. It’s your responsibility as an entrepreneur to ensure they are equipped with the tools they need to succeed.

Leadership expert John Maxwell says there are five levels of leadership, and few ever exceed the first level, which is Positional leadership.

People only follow positional leaders because they must. Not because they want to.

As a leader levels up, they ascend through four additional levels – Permission, Production, People Development and Pinnacle.

A leader becomes more effective as they rise through the ranks. They become more focused and interested in the people around them and their success, rather than just their own.

Additional Resources on Management

John Maxwell is my primary recommendation.

Seth Godin is another powerful resource and thought leader on the topic.