Imagine an army with no general, a team with no coach, or a nation with no government. How could the army beat the enemy? How could the team win games? How could the nation avoid complete anarchy?
They couldn’t. And an organization can’t succeed without a manager. Managers make sure that an organization stays, well… organized. Organizing and directing the work of others is the work of the manager. People need organization and direction if they are to work effectively, and managers provide that.
Management is generally defined as the art and science of getting things done through others. This definition emphasizes that a manager plans and guides the work of other people. Some (cynical) individuals think that this means managers don’t have any work to do themselves. Managers have an awful lot of work to do.
Organizing and directing the work of others is known as administration. In a business it is called business administration. (In a hospital, it is called health-care administration. In a government agency, it is called public administration.) Thus, business administration means managing a business, and an MBA – master of business administration – degree prepares a person to manage a business. In an MBA program, which is a graduate school program, you learn about the structure, parts, and purpose of a business, and about the tools you need in order to manage the business. These tools include budgets and financial statements as well as methods to analyzing business decisions.
A manager has an area of responsibility, that is, an activity or a function that he or she is responsible for running. A financial manager is responsible for some area of finance. In sales, an account manager is responsible for a set of accounts. A departmental manager or branch manager is responsible for a specific department or branch.
A manager’s role is to run his or her function properly. It may be as large as the entire company, as is the case for the CEO (chief executive officer). It may be as small as the mail room. Whatever the area of responsibility, management represents the sum of a set of tasks. Being a manager comes down to doing these tasks well and consistently while these facts remain unchanged:
1) Business will always need managers because no business can manage itself.
2) Economic and competitive conditions will always present challenges (a business must always do better no matter how well it’s doing).
3) Those who understand the job of the professional manager and dedicate themselves to doing it well will always have a business to manage and will be prepared to deal with the challenges.
These six concepts are central to every business and are the reasons that businesses would always need managers: Value for customers (what customers pay for), Organization, Competitive advantage, control, profitability and ethical practices.