Management: What Is It And Examples

By Chris Kolmar - Jan. 11, 2021

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Management roles exist in every company across industries, but what does being a manager really entail? While managers’ specific responsibilities can change depending on their career field and expertise, the best managers have a few common skills and qualities.

One of the great draws of pursuing a career in management is that managers are always needed. Every company needs effective managers to run smoothly and meet their goals, so there will always be an opportunity to find a position that fits your skills.

It’s also a very flexible position with jobs available across all industries in all kinds of work environments, requiring different skill sets. You can find ways to flex your best skills and strengths in various management positions since it isn’t a one-size-fits-all title.

So with all the different management opportunities, how can you know if pursuing a career in a management position is right for you? We’re going to take a look at typical job descriptions and skills that managers have so you can judge for yourself whether it’s a track you want to pursue.

What Is management?

Everyone has a different definition of management, but most define it as a leadership position that brings strong organizational skills to align employees, finances, and resources to meet its goals. Good management requires strong organizational, planning, communication, and leadership skills, no matter what you’re managing.

Some people consider management science, where effective managers follow specific methods or protocols. Others think it’s more of an art that each manager can bring their skills and style to solving problems.

No matter which approach you take, managers are skilled at coordinating people and efforts to meet goals. These can be short-term goals, like achieving a monthly sales number, or something longer-term, like implementing a new workflow.

Management can also mean a position in a company’s leadership structure. In these cases, management positions are less focused on the broad skills listed above and instead just a term for a company’s mid-level position. Often the skills can overlap, but they don’t have to.

Five Basic Operations of a Manager

Managers have lots of responsibilities, but they tend to fall into one of five categories. Here’s what you can expect to be doing as a manager.

  1. Goal setting. This is important because most of the work a manager does revolve around those goals. Managers are in charge of coordinating efforts to reach a goal, so they have to know what that goal is to get there. A manager’s effectiveness is based on how well they meet the goals they set, so choosing realistic and impactful goals is huge.

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  2. Organization. To a manager, the organization means more than just keeping their priorities on-track. Since they balance many people and tasks at once, they must be great multitaskers.

    They are responsible for the success of everyone, so that means delegating tasks appropriately, ensuring everyone is on one accord, and keeping everyone in check.

  3. Team management. Managers must be skilled with people and leading teams. If you are considered a people person who works well with others, management might be a promising career. Managers oversee teamwork and resolve occasional workplace disagreements. Team management skills are vital to ensure good results.

  4. Goal tracking. Goals are crucial to measuring the effectiveness of a manager and their team, so knowing how to measure and track success is necessary. Knowing how to set and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) is a skill that every good manager has.

  5. Leadership skills. Managers work closely with all kinds of people, and they need to know how to coach and help develop each employee’s skills. Ultimately, managers want to help people learn and move up in the company hierarchy, so having good leadership skills that inspire coworkers is critical.

Management Concepts

When you’re browsing job descriptions for managers, a few skills come up repeatedly, no matter the industry. Here are a few examples of typical responsibilities and qualities that companies look for in a manager:

  • Leading teams to meet predetermined or manager-defined goals and objectives

  • Coaching and leading direct-reports

  • Team building skills

  • Cross-functional or interdepartmental work

  • Clear communication of goals and progress

  • Hiring new team members

  • Reporting on KPIs

  • Supporting teams

  • Creating a safe and compliant workplace

  • Meeting financial objectives or guiding projects within financial constraints

  • Creating career development opportunities

  • Training new hires

  • Planning and allocating resources

Management Styles

There are just as many management styles out there as there are managers. Everyone approaches management differently, but there tends to be a few broad classifications of management styles. No matter what style you use, you can hone your skills and methods to be an effective manager. Here are some common management styles.

  • Directive. This management style is all about having a clear leader and a strict hierarchy within teams. Directive managers focus on outcomes and results, making sure their group meets stricter deadlines and clear goals. Bill Gates is a perfect example of this. He had a clear vision and led his team utilizing this style.

  • Coaching. Just like the name says, coaching leaders are all about their people. They know their team’s strengths, weaknesses, and growth opportunities. Coaching managers try to get the best out of their team by playing to everyone’s skills and developing their employees’ talents. Managers who favor this style are usually great about setting clear goals, establishing a positive environment, and motivating to drive results.

  • Bureaucratic. These leaders like to work within clearly defined roles. Bureaucratic managers enjoy close supervision, defined responsibilities, and exact processes and workflows. Often bureaucratic management is found in industries that need to comply with many regulations, like healthcare or government.

  • Servant leadership. Servant leaders are a relatively new concept. These managers put their people first and work to support their teams. Servant managers create a professionally and personally rewarding work environment to get the best work from everyone. People with strong interpersonal skills and a compassionate personality tend to be servant managers.

  • Inspirational. If you want to set a goal and don’t care how people get there, you might be an inspirational or visionary leader. Typically managers who like this style will give lots of support and help people figure out how to achieve the goal, but they won’t force a solution or process on their team.

Three Layers of Management

Depending on how big a company is, it might have up to three different levels of management. The hierarchy has less to do with skills and more to do with experience and responsibilities. After starting in a management position, you can work your way up to top management levels.

  • Executive-level. At the top of all companies are the executives or senior managers. These people are in charge of setting the entire company’s goals and overseeing smaller teams that work under them. This is the company’s top and includes top management roles like President, Vice President, CEO, CFO, and other high up positions.

  • Mid-level. Next, you have the mid-level managers who work under the executives but still oversee their departments or teams. People in middle management need to balance the goals that their supervisors (the senior executives) set while also meeting the teams’ needs under them and communicating company-wide efforts.

  • Low-level. These managers are more focused on everyday tasks and managing smaller teams to meet mid-level and executive managers’ goals. Typically low-level management roles get the most direct contact with their teams and work to ensure everyone coordinates and works toward the same goals.

Tips for Being a Good Manager

No matter what level of management you’re in or your management style, there are a few key things that will make you excel. Follow these tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your team and driving the right results:

  • Be flexible. Adaptation is an excellent skill for managers to have. Everyone works differently, so finding a way to make your work style or process mesh well with someone else’s is usually a key to managerial success. Managers need to be good compromisers, so staying flexible is the right way to manage relationships with all kinds of people.

  • Find balance. Since everyone works in different ways, you need to balance your leadership style to support your team members. Instead of taking one management style and following it to a T, try incorporating different elements of a few styles to accommodate everyone.

  • Trust your team. As a manager, it can be hard to give up control and let an employee approach a problem or goal in a way you disagree with, but it’s essential to let everyone do things their way. Of course, you need to find a compromise, but don’t be afraid to let an employee try something out their way first.

  • Meet regularly. It would help if you got to know your team on a professional and personal level, and regular meetings are a great way to do that. You’ll build a strong working relationship with your employees this way and improve the team’s cohesion.

  • Communicate. The best thing you can do as a leader is to communicate. Let your team know of any changes or feedback immediately, and be clear when you talk to them. This includes your outward communication to employees and listening when they bring issues or concerns to you.

  • Know when to help. Sometimes you need to step in and help train a team member. That isn’t a bad thing, and it’s not an insult to the team member, but you need to know when to step in and give a helping hand to improve overall results.

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Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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