A manager is a skilled professional on many different levels. He or she may have accounting, financing and leadership abilities and may know how to work with a variety of people, including clientele, CEOs and people from other companies. Manager jobs are available in many different fields from healthcare management to retail to sales, allowing people to look for positions in a field that is a good fit for them.
Many manager skills can be gained through a bachelor's degree program, where coursework in decision-making, business law, organizational principles and more could be required. An internship can be part of this school experience, creating hands-on opportunities for students in a business environment. An online degree in business management or leadership could be an option to help individuals pursue their manager skills goals.
Day in the Life of a Manager
A manager can be thought of as the "glue" that holds a team of people together. He or she does whatever it takes to make sure goals are met and that people are working together toward those established objectives. Typically, there are three levels of managers — the top manager, middle manager and the lower manager. Of these, the top manager has the most responsibility and the most decision-making authority. He or she may work with a team of other upper-level managers or employees from across the company. Lower- and middle-level managers may have varying levels of responsibility based on their jobs.
In general, managers may need to do the following on the job:
- Oversee a team or group of people
- Work with other managers or coordinate projects with people in the company
- Communicate with employees at other companies
- Delegate tasks to qualified employees
- Set goals and objectives
- Create reports reflecting employee productivity
- Review the performance of personnel
- Set budgets and manage financial spending within a department
- Ensure employees follow company policy
- Hire or fire employees
Depending on the position, manager jobs may require other tasks, too. This could include overseeing volunteer teams, giving formal presentations, motivating employees, attending networking meetings and even traveling for business. Managers may need to take phone calls or to handle urgent issues after hours or on weekends.
Some managers also may be expected to set schedules for employees. For example, nursing managers may need to create the schedule for nursing staff, since some healthcare facilities, like nursing homes or hospitals, are open around the clock. Other managers may need to be experienced and comfortable talking to the press, attorneys or board members.
Important Characteristics for Managers
The type of people who make good managers typically have leadership abilities. They are good listeners and capable of motivating others. Additional manager skills include the ability to solve problems, steer employees through challenges and find ways to become more efficient. Managers are comfortable making decisions and have a support team that helps them to gather resources.
Typical Steps for Becoming a Manager
If you may be interested in the career of a manager, a postsecondary education can provide you with coursework and knowledge to get started in the field. Below are some career steps to help you work on building manager skills.
- Earn a bachelor's degree in a field like business administration, business management or even finance. Another option is to complete an associate degree program and then to work on a bachelor's degree completion program or to transfer existing credits to a four-year school to finish a full bachelor's. Some degree names in the field include:
- Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Arts or Associate of Science in Business
- Associates Degree in Business Administration Online
- Associate of Arts in Business Online Degree
- Associate of Science in Business Administration
- Bachelor of Arts in Business
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting Online
- Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurial Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Finance
- Bachelor of Science in Management and Leadership
- Bachelor of Science in Project Management
- American Management Association
- Institute of Certified Professional Managers
- National Management Association
- Financial Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed June 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm#tab-4
- Human Resource Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed June 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm#tab-4
- Sales Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed June 2018, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/sales-managers.htm#tab-4
- Summary Report for General and Operations Managers, O*NET Online, Accessed June 2018, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-1021.00#Education