Top Ten Tips on...

Roles & Responsibilities

12 June 2023
Effective Top Tens - Podcast
Quick, practical tips on a wide range of management and personal development themes.
What are your key roles and responsibilities as a modern manager? And how do you find the balance between them?

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Managing performance

Any manager has to look after the performance of four particular units that are their responsibility. You may not have responsibility for all four of these units, but you will have responsibility for at least some of them. So here are my four units for managing performance. The first of these is a large unit such as a marketing department or finance department. The second level would be managing teams within that unit. At the third level, you're responsible for the performance of the individuals within that team, and the fourth level is managing your own performance. It's going to be pretty difficult for you to be effective as a manager in the other three areas, unit, team, and individual, if you're not good at managing yourself.


Managing relationships

This is about managing relationships rather than people. Sometimes as a manager, we tend to think of this being essentially a vertical relationship, managing those who hierarchically are at a level below. But you also have responsibility for three other types of relationship: those above you – your manager; those within the organisation who work alongside you – your peers and colleagues; and your external relationships such as those with partners and with customers. Generally speaking, under the right conditions, people can manage themselves. A manager’s two responsibilities to their staff are to give clear direction and adequate resources. What seems most important is the relationship a manager has with his or her staff. So it's not about managing people, it's about managing the way you work with them.


Managing resources

a resource is something that any individual or team need in order to complete the task. Money. Isn't a resource - it is the most usual and convenient way of acquiring the resources you need. So think of resources rather than money . The classic resources are people, time, materials and equipment, space and accommodation, information, and systems and procedures. The manager’s role is to identify the necessary resources and make them available.


Managing problems

some managers would say that essentially their job is exactly that - managing problems. They come into work, perhaps have a provisional to do list, then there’s a knock on the door or the phone rings, or there's a message pops up on the screen, and off they go: it's a problem and they're required to solve it. If that's the case for you, then you need key skills in that area, including things like being able identify a problem, analyse and evaluate it, and end up making key decisions and providing effective solutions.


Managing yourself

there are a whole host of things that could be included in managing yourself – so many in fact, that they will be covered in a separate podcast called ‘managing yourself’.


Managing the context

Most managers will have the roles already referred to. But how they do them often depends on the next two tips, the first of which is context, which is the world in which we operate, that shapes ourselves and our organization, that's the context. There’s an internal context, driven by the organisation, and an external one, driven by the wider environment: the economic, legal, technical, social and political contexts, By and large the manager will be reactive to the external context, but may have an opportunity to shape the internal context.


Managing the culture

culture is defined as ‘the way we do things around here’, and this will be a combination of formal and informal, official and official norms, routines, processes, relationships and behaviours. There are four classic components of any culture: structure, processes, behaviours and attitude. Together they determine ‘the way we do things around here’. So a good manager will be aware of the culture of the unit or units they manage, and work to install and embed a culture that works best for that unit, and the organisation.


Managing change

there are two approaches to managing change: reactive and proactive. Most managers think first of their reactive role – having to respond to a change initiated from above, or from the outside world. But managers are also expected to have a proactive approach to change – to regularly review their management area, and consider how it might be changed for the better.


Not to challenge is to condone

typically a manager will have issues within their team or unit; particularly ones of poor performance or poor behaviour. And the manager is expected to address such issues. If they don’t, then in effect they are condoning the performance or behaviour, and ultimately, the spotlight of poor performance will fall on the manager, rather than those who are performing or behaving badly.


Don’t marginalise management

Many managers will have started their career as a technical or specialist expert, with no thought of managing. Yet for whatever reason, they become managers, and may still be required to fulfil some of their specialist role. If this happens, beware of marginalising management. It can be too easy to concentrate on the specialist element, which you know you can do well, and enjoy, especially if you find management, by comparison, more difficult and less enjoyable.

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