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Manager: Functions, Skills and Role

After reading this article you will learn about the functions, skills and role of managers in an organization.

Functions of Managers at Different Levels:

There is no basic distinction between managers, executives, administrators, and supervisors. To be sure, a given situation may differ considerably among various levels in an organization or various types of enterprises. Similarly, the scope of authority held may vary and the types of problems dealt with may be considerable different.

Furthermore, the person in a managerial role may be directing people in the sales, engineering, or finance department. But the fact remains that, as managers, all obtain results by the establishing environment for effective group endeavour.

All manager carry out managerial functions. However, the time spent for each function may differ. Fig. 27.2 shows an approximation of the relative time spent for each function.

Thus, top-level managers spend more time on planning and organizing than do lower-level managers. Leading, on the other hand, takes a great deal of time for first-line supervisors. The difference in the amount of time spent on controlling various functions only slightly for managers at various levels.

Skills of Managers in the Organizational Hierarchy:

Following are the managerial skills:

(i) Technical Skill:

It is knowledge of and proficiency in activities involving methods, processes, and procedures. Thus, it involves working with tools and specific techniques. For examples, mechanics work with tools, and their supervisor should have the ability to teach them how to use these tools. Similarly, accountants apply specific techniques in doing their job.

(ii) Human Skill:

It is the ability to work with people; it is cooperative efforts; it is teamwork; it is the creation of an environment in which people feel secure and free express their opinions.

(iii) Conceptual Skill:

It is the ability to see the ‘big picture’ to recognize significant elements in a situation, and to understand the relationships among the elements.

(iv) Design Skill:

It is the ability to solve problems in ways that will benefit the enterprise. To be effective, particularly at upper organizational levels, managers must be able to do more than see a problem. They must have, in addition, the skill of a good design engineer in working out a practical solution to a problem.

If managers merely see the problem and become ‘problem watchers,’ They will fail. Managers must also have that valuable skill of being able to design a workable solution to the problem in the light of the realities they face.

The relative importance of these skills may differ at various levels in the organization hierarchy. As shown in Fig. 27.3 technical skills are of greatest importance at the supervisory level. Human skills are also helpful in the frequent interactions with subordinates. Conceptual skills, on the other hand, are usually not critical for lower-level supervisors.

At the middle management level, the need for technical skills decreases human skill is still essential; the conceptual skills gain in importance.

At the top management level, conceptual and design abilities and human skills are especially valuable, but there is relatively little need for technical abilities. It is assumed, especially in large companies, that chief executives can utilize the technical abilities of their subordinates. In smaller firms, however, technical experience may still be quite important.

Role of a Manager:

Non-business executive sometimes say that the aim of business managers is simple-to make a profit. But profit is really only a measure of a surplus of sales rupees over expense rupees. In a very real sense, in all kinds of organizations, whether business or non-business, the logical and publicly desirable aim of all managers should be a surplus.

Thus, managers must establish an environment in which people can accomplish group goals with the least amount of time, money, materials, and personal dissatisfaction or in which they can achieve as much as possible of a desired goal with available resources.

In a non-business enterprise such as a police department, as well as in units of a business (such as an accounting department) that are not responsible for total business profits, managers still have goals and should strive to accomplish them with the minimum of resource or to accomplish as much as possible with available resources.

Roles of Managers

Interpersonal Roles:

(1) The figure head role (performing ceremonial and social duties as the organisation’s representative

(2) The leader role and

(3) The liaison role (communicating particularly with outsiders).

Time Spent in Carrying Out Managerial Functions

Informational Roles:

(1) The recipient role (receiving infor­mation about the operation of an enterprise)

(2) The disseminator role (passing in­formation to subordinates) and

(3) The spokesperson role (transmit­ting information to those outside the organisation).

Decision Roles:

(1) The entrepreneurial role.

(2) The disturbance handler role.

(3) The resource allocator role.

(4) The negotiator role.

The Functions and Authorities of Managers:

The functions of managers provide a useful framework for organizing management knowledge. There have been no new ideas, research findings, or techniques that cannot readily be placed in the classifications of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling.


Planning involves selecting missions and objectives and the actions to achieve them; it requires decision making that is, choosing future courses of action from among alternatives. There are various types of plans, ranging from overall purpose and objectives to the most detailed actions to be taken, such as ordering a special stainless steel bolt for an instrument of hiring and training workers for an assembly line.

No real plan exists plan exists until a decision-a commitment of human or material resources or reputation has been made. Before a decision is made, all that exists is a planning study, an analysis, or a proposal; there is no real plan.


People working together in groups to achieve some goal must have roles to play, much like the parts actors fill in a drama, whether these roles are ones they develop themselves, are accidental or haphazard, or are defined and structured by someone who wants to make sure that people contribute in a specific way to group effort.

The concept of a ‘role’ implies that what people do has a definite purpose or objective; they know how their job objective fits into group effort, and they have the necessary authority, tools and information to accomplish the task. This can be seen in as simple a group effort as setting up camp on a fishing expedition.

Everyone could do anything he or she wanted to do, but activity would almost certainly be more effective and certain tasks would be less likely to be left undone if one or two persons were given the job of gathering firewood, to others the assignment of getting water; other the task of starting a fire, other the job of cooking, and so on.

Organization Structure:

Then, is that part of managing that involves establishing an international structure of roles for people to fill in an organization. It is intentional in the sense of making sure that all the tasks necessary to accomplish goals are assigned and. it is hoped, assigned to people who can do them best.

Imagine what would have happened if such assignments had not been made in the program of flying the special air craft Voyager around the globe without stopping or refuelling.

The purpose of an organization structure is to help in creating an environment for human performances. It is, then, a management tool and not an end in hand of itself. Although the structure must define the tasks to be done, the roles so established must also be designed in the light of the abilities and motivations of the people available.

Designing an effective organization structure is not an easy managerial tasks. Many problems are encountered in making structures fit situations, including both defining the kind of jobs they must be done and finding the people to do them.


Staffing involves filling, and keeping the positions in the organization structure. This is done by identifying work force requirements; inventorying the people available, and recruiting, selecting, placing, promoting, appraising planning the careers of, compensating, and training or otherwise developing both candidates and current jobholders to accomplish their tasks effectively and efficiently.


Leading is the influencing of people so that they will contribute to organization and group goals; it has to do predominantly with the interpersonal aspect of managing. All managers would agree that their most important problems arise from people-their desires and attitudes. Their behaviour as individuals and in groups-and that effective manager also need to be effective leaders.

Since leadership implies followership and people tend to follow those who offer a means of satisfying their own needs, wishes and desires, it is understandable that leading involves motivation, leadership styles and approaches, and communications.


Controlling is the measuring; the correcting of activities of subordinates to ensure that event conforms to plans. It measures performance against goods and plans shows where negative deviations exists, and by putting in motion action to collect deviations, helps ensure accomplishment of plans.

Although planning must precede controlling, plans are not self-achieving. Plans guide managers in the use of resources to accomplish specific goals; then activities are checked to determine whether they conform to the plans.

Control, activities generally relate to the measurement of achievement. Some means of controlling, like the budget for expense, inspection records, and the record of labour hours lost, are generally familiar. Each measures and each shows whether plans are working out. If deviations persist, correction in is indicated. But what is corrected? Activities, through persons.

Nothing can be done about reducing scrap, for example, or buying according to specifications, or handling sales returns unless one knows who is responsible for these functions.

Compelling events to conform to plans means locating the persons who are responsible for results that differ from planned action and then taking the necessary steps to improve performance. Thus, outcomes are controlled by controlling what people do.

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Salman Qureshi

Salman Qureshi is an Accountant by profession & he loves to write on Commerce & Management Sciences Subject to assist Students. Hope you guys will like his effort.