What is it Like to be a Manager?

Middle managers’ importance has also escalated because of the growing use of teams and projects. Strong project managers are in hot demand throughout the corporate world. A project manager is responsible for a temporary work project that involves the participation of people from various functions and levels of the organization and perhaps from outside the company as well. Minnie Ingersoll works as a project manager for Google, where she coordinates activities between the advertising, finance, and engineering departments. Today’s middle manager might work with variety of projects and team at the same time, some of which cross geographical and cultural as well as functional boundaries. Project management makes the middle manager’s job much more challenging and exciting.

Another growing trend is using interim managers, which means hiring temporary management professionals who work on a specific project or provide expertise in a specific area. This approach enables a company to benefit from specialist skills without making a long term commitment, and it provides flexibility for managers who like the challenge, variety and learning that comes from working in a wide range of organizations. While interim managers are used at all levels, they can be particularly valuable for middle management activities.

First line managers:

First line managers are directly responsible for the production of goods and services. They are the first or second level of management and have such titles as supervisor, line manager, section chief, and office manger. They are responsible for groups of non-management employees. Their primary concern is the application of rules and procedures to achieve efficient production, provide technical assistance and motivate subordinates. The Time horizon at this level is short, with the emphasis on accomplishing day to day goals. For example, Stephanie Carver, the kitchen managers at a Bennigan’s Grill and Tavern restaurant, monitors, and supervises kitchen employees to make sure food is prepared in a safe and efficient manner. She is responsible for motivating and guiding young, often inexperienced workers providing assistance as needed limiting waste, and ensuring adherence to health and safety rules.

Horizontal Differences

Functional managers: A manager who is responsible for a department that performs a single functional task and has employees with similar training and skills.

General Manager: A manager who is responsible for several departments that perform different functions.

Horizontal Differences

The other major difference in management jobs occurs horizontally across the organization. Functional managers are responsible for departments that perform a single functional task and have employees with similar training and skills. Functional department includes advertising, Sales, Finance, Human resources, manufacturing, and accounting. Line managers are responsible for the manufacturing and marketing departments that make or sell the product or service. Staff managers are in charge of departments such as finance and human resources that support line.

General Managers are responsible for several departments that perform different functions. A general manager is responsible for a self contained division, such as a Dillard’s department store, and for all of the functional departments within it. Project mangers also have general management responsibility because they coordinate people across several departments to accomplish a specific project.

So far we have described how managers at various levels perform functions that help ensure that organizational resources are used to attain high levels of performance. These tasks require conceptual, human and technical skills, which are today being applied in a turbulent environment for many managers. Unless someone has actually performed managerial work, it is hard to understand exactly what managers do on an hour by hour, day to day basis. The manager’s job is so diverse that a number of studies have been undertaken in an attempt to describe exactly what happens. The question of what managers actually do to plan, organize, lead and control was answered by Henry Mintzberg who followed managers around and recorded all their activities.

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