What Is A Manager’s Main Purpose?
How would you answer that question? In the past, managers on courses I have run have said various things, such as ‘to ensure employees do their jobs and fulfil their contracts’, or ‘to ensure that people are following company rules and regulations’, or ‘to achieve the goals they are given’.
All of these have some element of truth. However, none of them captures the main purpose of every manager.
Managers have one main purpose. To understand what it is, consider the purpose of a soccer manager. You may be thinking, what has sport got to do with business? However, it is worth considering that all professional soccer clubs in the English league are primarily run as businesses, especially the top leagues (even if their fans do not like to think that they are).
In the 2018-2019 soccer season, over 50 managers of English league clubs left their jobs, most of them fired by their clubs. (There are 94 clubs in the Premier and English leagues, so that is 56% of all managers.)
Why did so many managers lose their jobs? The primary reason is that they were not achieving the required results. The clubs’ boards, in fear of losing money, then go onto replace them in order to improve the results.
Most businesses do not live in the highly pressurised fishbowl of professional soccer, but the main purpose of all managers remains the same. Essentially, a manager’s purpose is to achieve the required results of the team, department, division or company they are leading.
However, the similarities with professional soccer do not end there. Just like a soccer manager is not on the field of play getting the scores, so the business manager is also not the one ‘in the field of play’ trying to get the results. Essentially, they are leading a team of others who are getting the results. The only ones who are on the field of play as managers, are supervisors and team leaders, who in some ways are like ‘player-managers’ (you do not see many of these in professional soccer these days).
So the primary purpose of any manager is to achieve the required results through the efforts of their team. As an introduction to how managers can be more effective, this is a good place to start. This is not anything new. In 1964, Robert Blake and Jane Mouton gave the following definition of management: “Management is achieving results through the efforts of others.”
There is more to add to this definition, but that will come up later. If you would like to read a more detailed article on the main purpose of a manager, there is a free pdf download available on this site.
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