What Does a Manager Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

What Does a Manager Do?

Theresa Chiechi/The Balance

Manager is a job title that's used in organizations to designate an employee who leads functions or departments, and often employees. A manager is assigned to a particular level on an organizational chart. The manager's role and job description are at a pay grade or job classification level that integrates functions and departments for the implementation of success.

The line manager, sometimes called a direct manager, is responsible for a department and has employees for whom they have leadership responsibility. Larger organizations can also employ senior managers, general managers, or managers of other managers, who report to either the director level or the vice president level.

Manager Duties and Responsibilities

Every manager's job can be a bit different, but they all generally have these responsibilities. Traditionally, managers' job description and duties require the ability to do the following work:

  • Plan the operation and function of the area over which they're assigned in a way that accomplishes the goals for which they're responsible in the workings of the total organization.
  • Organize the production of the work, as well as the workforce, training, and resources necessary to do the work.
  • Provide employees and their resources with the guidance, direction, leadership, and support necessary to ensure that they're able to accomplish their goals.
  • Follow up to ensure that the plan is carried out in a way that its accomplishment is assured.
  • Review and assess the success of the goal, the plan, and the allocation of the employees and their resources using solid, reliable measurements.
  • Perform other responsibilities as assigned by the president, vice president, or director to whom the manager reports. These responsibilities can be diverse and far-reaching in most organizations and depend on the organization's goals and objectives.

The job description of a manager varies from organization to organization and depends on the specific responsibilities that are assigned to the job function. In some organizations, the title of manager is assigned to employees who have other employees reporting to them as seen on an organizational chart. In others, the title is also assigned to employees who manage a functional area.

Manager Salary

Managers' salaries can depend on the business in which they're employed. The median incomes for sales managers in 2018 were:

  • Median Annual Salary: $124,220 ($59.72/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $208,000 ($100.00/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $58,940 ($26.34/hour)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

The most highly paid managers worked in the finance and insurance sectors in 2018, earning a median annual salary of $153,940.

Education, Training, and Certification

Those looking for a career as a manager should ideally have a college degree and related experience.

  • Education: Most employers look for candidates with at least a bachelor's degree with a concentration of courses in the areas of economics, management, finance, or marketing.
  • Experience: Experience in a related field is typically required, and at least some experience in a supervisory capacity is preferred.

Management Skills and Competencies

You should have several essential qualities to succeed in becoming a manager.

  • Communication and customer service skills: This job entails interaction with coworkers, and it can require customer and client contact in some fields as well.
  • Leadership skills: A manager is often at the helm of operations in any industry and should be able to guide, assess, and evaluate employees and staff.
  • Analytical skills: Depending on the field, a good manager may be responsible for analyzing and keeping on top of a large amount of data to assess goals and the next steps in various projects.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics anticipate job growth for sales managers in the area of 7% through 2026. This is about average for all occupations, but it can depend on the industry or sector.

Work Environment

This can be a stressful position with a great deal of responsibility. Depending on the industry, you might find yourself in the trenches with other employees or in an office, or even frequently traveling to other branches and stores.

Work Schedule

This is almost invariably a full-time position that can involve additional evenings and weekends in some sectors.

Key Takeaway

How to Get the Job


Associations such as the National Management Association offer education and can provide valuable contacts.


Glassdoor provides some interview tips specifically for management positions.

Comparing Similar Jobs

Some similar jobs and their median annual pay include: 

  • Advertising Sales Agent: $51,740
  • Public Relations Specialist: $60,000
  • Sales Engineer: $101,420

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018