We will start our discussion from the very basic question of who is a manager. Who is a manager? The demystification-everyone is!!
Simple desk research will throw up several definitions but we found that all definitions have a certain bias in age or business. The dictionary.com defines manager as follows:
“A person who has control or direction of an institution, business etc or of a part, division, or phase of it. ”
“It then gave some synonyms including Administrator, Executive, Superintendent, Supervisor, and Boss.”
“Another dictionary definition says one who directs a business or other enterprise, controls resources, and expenditure. One who is in charge of the business?”
If we look at these definitions they gave the impression of people higher up in an organisation, who are entrusted with the management of an organisation.
In our regular interactions during our training in the Managerial School of Excellence (MSE) we always clearly separate discussions of who a manager is from that of pure management. Yes, a manager will be involved in management if well defined. There are people in organisations who are not able to get to the level of controlling or directing or leading as intended in these definitions. We take a look at the business dictionary definition which gives more clarity: A manager is an individual in charge of a certain group of tasks or a certain subset of a company.
This definition aligns with our understanding in Managerial School of Excellence. We define a manager as “An individual in charge of activities or tasks for which he or she is held accountable in an organisation”. We focus on responsibility and accountability.
Our definition helps to appreciate that there are several levels or layers of managers in an organisation with varied responsibilities and accountabilities. So we have the Executive managers providing leadership and direction for the business: these are their responsibilities and are held accountable for the overall success of the business.
We have Senior or Middle-level managers who are responsible for the operations of the business translating Executive plans into measurable results by supervising the other lower people in the organisation. They are held accountable for plan implementations and results. Yet we have other employees directly in charge of the routine tasks and activities whose collective works give the results of the business. They also have accountability for effective performance of these activities and tasks.
If the Executives are managers, and the supervisors are managers; these “task officers” so to say are also managers by the virtue of assigned responsibilities and accountabilities.
The beauty of our argument is that anyone without a task supporting the success of a business should not be engaged or employed in that business. Why? Because he or she is not a manager. Can we then say we hire only managers in all our businesses? Yes; should be our answers. We can illustrate with some examples here.
You need a security support for the business to operate in a secure environment. The security man at the gate has the task of checking and controlling who comes in or out of the premises amongst other tasks. If he fails to control access and there are infractions he is held accountable and could be fired. Whao! so the security man at your gate is a manager!!. If you like call him “gate security manager”.
What about the corporate drivers? Some drive cars that have values more than what some middle managers handle. Is he responsible for the activities relating to maintenance and availability of the car for official movements and logistics? He is accountable for the use, fueling, cleaning, etc. Again this a hard working manager and should be called Manager in charge of CEO’s car if he is driving the CEO.
We conclude therefore that every one of us is a manager. Only dead people are no longer managers since they cannot perform any task and cannot be held accountable. This is how we call Demystify the Managerial concept.
1. Manager should not be seen as a title but a responsibility. Irrespective of your title as long as you are part of business or enterprise with defined responsibilities you a manager.
We can also look at the home environment where we all have responsibilities and accountabilities. The Father is the manager in charge of finance and provisions, security and external relation etc. He is the CEO. The Mother is the chief Operation Officer in charge of all agreed outputs. The children also have varied responsibilities including going to school to become an important part of the community.
2. If we now know we are all managers, we must make conscious efforts to prepare ourselves for the responsibilities and make sure we succeed.
3. We usually say we are all born as managers but we study and learn to become excellent managers. Sure we have so many people ending up as non-productive and unsuccessful managers.
Classification of Managers.
There are two types of managers, though:
• The professional managers: People who earn their living working as managers. If you like you can call them the corporate managers. For example, I can drive but will not want to be called a driver and I do not earn income as a driver. The corporate drivers are engaged to drive and paid for their driving skills. These are the professional drivers and as explained they are professional managers as well.
• Non-professional managers: They function as managers but are not paid for their managerial efforts and so do not live seeking managerial positions. Examples include mothers at home, fathers at home, the first born at home, community leaders etc.
Develop your managerial skills to excel.
The managerial concept:
Why do we have managers in the corporate world which is where the official title started?
The concept started in the time of industrial revolution as emerging middle class were given certain privileges to “look over” the workers in the factories for the owners. So managerial concept is a way of increasing productivity, being able to do more within the limited working hours (time) in any business. More hands are needed to achieve more and so supervision and control became an issue. Select people have to be trained, given privileges to supervise others…..These are the managers: professional managers.
• You hire people to do what you do not have time to cover
• You hire people who have skills you do not have but require in your business
• If terms are not mutually benefiting the hiree can go, leaving the tasks unattended.
• The hiree after resumption may not have the skills you thought he or she had
• If not supervised he may not achieve the productivity level
There are more implications and they are the reasons we need to understand managers, their skills profile and how to manage them. Yet you must first train to be an effective manager yourself. So professional managers build skills to do what business owners cannot do. So managerial skill has always been a competitive edge.