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What is a manager?

Social sciences are still pretty young and have focused their attention on what is a manager since the mid-19th century. Prior to that era, the organizations were relatively small and they provided products and services that were simplistic, when we compared them with today's reality. Consequently, managers didn't need to have specific management training; in fact, it didn't even exist. Thus, it is important to understand that the term management as well as the actions required by manager have and continued to evolve. Perhaps, this fact could explain in part all of the confusion associated with the understanding of what is a manager!

According to Wikipedia management is the "act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively." Thus we can derive that a manager is the person doing those actions.

To gain a better understanding let's take the definition provided above and break it down:

Getting people together: This might sound like the easiest part of the definition, but from my perspective it's the most complicated, the most under-valued as well as the most neglected part of the definition within far too many of our organizations. Getting people together is pretty easy, but we need to ensure that we have the right people working together. People with the right knowledge, the right abilities and the right skills ensure that we can fulfill the rest of the definition which is to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively.

So, one of the responsibilities of the manager is to make certain that his team has all of the skills and abilities they need to perform the given task to their best ability.

On a side note, if your current team is missing one or more of the essentials skills to bring your project to completion effectively and efficiently, then it is your responsibility is to find the means to satisfy that gap either by providing the training yourself or selecting someone with the ability to provide them with the training. Ignoring this reality isn't the behavior of a manager. If your organization doesn't have the financial resource to support that need, then you need to acknowledge it and adopt strategies to minimize the consequences. Ignoring this reality won't be of service to anyone and in fact, might even result in the failure of the objective.

Okay, back to the definition, accomplish desired goals and objectives: That is pretty simple; you need to have pre-established goals and objectives. Usually, your superior will give you some long-term objectives. As the manager, you will need to translate these objectives into more manageable and meaningful objectives for your direct reports. Now that we have the objectives we need to accomplish them! So, what is a manager? It's also a person that will develop a plan of action to provide some insights on the how and the what (objectives) will be brought to completion.

Lastly, you need to know when they are accomplished, because as the manager, you will also need to have measures in place that will enable you to quantify the progress. After all, you want to know when the objective is accomplished.

With regard to using available resource section, I will only point out that we might have a tendency to be limited to what and who we know! It's important here to research for resources that we don't know about that are available. If you think out of the box, you might find out that there are many more resources available then you are aware of. This is valid for human, material and financial resources.

Are you starting to understand what is a manager?

Let's review how we would define a manager based on what we have agreed upon so far: A manager is an accountable person with the skills and abilities for defining shorter term measurable goals and motivating a group of individuals to use you don't see the word "available" the same way now :-)

The manager, I'm assuming to be yourself in this article, will also monitor the progress and make certain all of the tasks are completed efficiently. This means that not only do you ensure that the current tasks are brought to fruition with minimal waste, but it also means that you need to investigate and find other means in which the processes can be improved. In other words, look for ways to make you processes faster, cheaper, better. These aren't only the responsibility of the Research and Development group, if you have one within your organization. Everyone within the organization should be charged with cost and resource refinement and reduction on behalf of the organization itself.

Finally, effectively: This is no doubt the most important role of a manager! In the sense that you need to make certain that your staff as well as you are working on tasks that will directly contribute to the objective. It's a totally normal human behavior to tend to do what we like to do, as opposed to what we should be doing. But in the world of business we need to do what needs to be done!

In conclusion, I would like to offer the following answer to what is a manager:

An accountable person with the skills and abilities for defining shorter-term measurable goals for a group of individuals to use available human, material and financial resources in a manner that eliminates misuse, while remaining focused on goal-oriented tasks.

Share your thoughts

Sharing your thoughts on management will benefit every leader that are constantly seeking to improve their management skills. Every leader need to manage constantly, thus increasing our management skills will consequently increase our leadership skills.

What Other Leaders Have Said

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who is a manager 
A manager is the person who effectively and efficiently harnesses available resources to achieve optimum level of productivity.

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