Manager, the Job Description

I have been in management positions for over 15 years and never, I mean not even once, I was handed off a job description that would clearly define what my job responsibilities are. Maybe had I spent these years working for large companies with formal HR processes and procedures my chances to see one would have been much better. Well, just maybe. I saw a plenty of job descriptions in large organizations as well, and they did not cover a fraction of what I expected the real jobs were. Some stayed at a fairly high level, some use vague terms, and some just stated the obvious.overwhelmed_with_work

Why is that? Why most of managers especially in small companies get at best “well, you know the drill” introduction to their responsibilities? I think the answer is very simple – the job of manager is so complex that if one decides to put its description in some details the result would take many pages. The high level definition could be formed just in a few sentences. It leaves a plenty of room for interpretation and so be it – the new manager will have to find a way to fill in the blanks…

So if you are one of those managers struggling with understanding what is required of you, trying to fill in the blanks take a look at the list below, it is not by any means complete and leaves a plenty of room for improvement / interpretation. I still hope you find it helpful. Here we go –

The Seven Dimensions of Management

1. Managing Tasks & Projects

  • Estimate / Plan / Budget
  • Organize / Control Execution / Adjust Course
  • Remove Obstacles / Aggregate and distribute Knowledge

2. Managing People

  • Hire / Cast / Evaluate
  • Mentor / Motivate / Develop
  • Discipline / Terminate

3. Managing Team

  • Build
  • Mentor / Motivate / Develop
  • Lead

4. Managing Organization

  • Communicating & Reporting Up / Lateral / Down
  • Partake in Organizational Development
  • Partake in forming organizational Vision / Position / Image

5. Managing Oneself

  • Time Management
  • Self-motivation / self-development
  • Cast thyself – finding and keeping that perfect job

6. Technical / Individual Contribution

  • Professional Contribution
  • Professional Support and Mentorship
  • Establish / Instill Processes and Procedures (e.g. SDLC)

7. Many other hats to wear / contribution expectation

  • Partner / Customer / Vendor relationships
  • Purchasing (e.g. HW / SW/ Services)
  • Involvement in higher level or adjunct activities e.g. Marketing & Sales
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Administrative and other supplementary activities

Whew, it is a long list… Well, maybe it’s not the list, maybe it’s just my paycheck is not long enough to cover it…


4 thoughts on “Manager, the Job Description

  1. Pingback: Offshore Account Manager « Pragmatic Outsourcing

  2. Abbas

    Nice categorization of tasks, Nick. Couple of points though.

    1. Wouldn’t it also depend on the type of ‘manager’ job and type of company for the tasks to be expected of the managers? For instance, I heard there are two types of managers for each team at Cisco where one manages the technical side while the other one handles the team development area.

    2. There seems to be a major overlap between ‘managing people’ and ‘managing teams’. How would they be differentiated?


    1. Nick Krym Post author

      first re 1) in many companies the role of manager is treated in more narrow way / or split with a great level of granularity. small companies, startups and even large dynamic organization throw all kind of challanges on a single person, stretching the role in so more dimensions.
      second, team vs. people management – i see a great deal of difference here, and plan to cover it over time; the difference is … like between unit testing and integration testing :)) think about 1 on 1 management vs. managing an organization. there are many techniques, methods, etc. applicable to teams that i would not necessarily apply to a people management, e.g. collective decision making (dozens of techniques here), etc. hope that makes sense

  3. Pingback: Manager, Essential Skills « Common Sense Management

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