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Managing and managing people
Managing and managing people

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4.2 The ‘job description’ approach

One way of gaining a clearer picture of what you do as a manager would be to list all your activities in a giant job description. An example is set out below. The list does not describe the job of an actual manager but sets out typical managerial activities.

Table 1 The ‘job description’ approach
The manager’s job
Makes forecasts Monitors progress
Makes analyses Exercises control
Thinks creatively/logically Determines information needs
Calculates and weighs risks Establishes/uses management information systems
Makes sound decisions Manages his or her time
Determines goals Copes with stress
Sets priorities Adjusts to change
Prepares plans Develops his or her skills and knowledge
Schedules activities
Establishes control systems
Sets/agrees budgets
The manager and his or her team
Builds and maintains his or her team Makes presentations
Selects staff Conducts meetings
Sets performance standards Writes reports and correspondence
Raises productivity Interviews
Motivates people Counsels and advises
Arranges incentives Identifies organisational problems
Designs jobs Creates conditions for change
Improves the quality of working life Implements/manages/copes with change
Monitors and appraises performance Designs new organisation/team structures
Harmonises conflicting objectives Establishes reporting lines
Handles conflict Develops internal communication systems
Leads Takes account of environmental factors affecting the organisation (economic, environmental, technological, social, political)
Adopts appropriate management styles
Communicates effectively

Listing and grouping a manager’s activities goes a little way towards making some sense out of the complexities of managerial work, but it does not offer any explanations. Another difficulty is that many other jobs have many of these components. Nurses, sales staff, engineers, chefs and cooks, and office workers, for example, often carry out some of these activities.