In today’s fast-paced, competitive world, businesses are continually changing. Most of these organizations are on the hunt for the competitive advantage, or a way to strategically move ahead of the competition in the marketplace. However, earning the competitive advantage takes work; goals must be set, plans must be made, people must be motivated and mobilized, resources have to be gathered and distributed, and objectives have to be monitored and assessed.
Enter managers. These men and women come in many forms, but they all share the common task of working with people and resources to achieve organizational goals. An organizational goal can be something as simple as finding a way to shorten the amount of time it takes for a product to leave a warehouse or as elaborate as introducing a new product to the marketplace that makes all previous versions of this type of product obsolete. Regardless of the goal, someone needs to manage all of the factors necessary to seeing that goal become a reality.
Think of a manager as the foundation, support beams, and roof of a house. He or she provides the necessary support from the bottom up, and also provides oversight to all of the parts in between.
While this may seem like a great deal of responsibility and accountability for just one person to have, much like an onion, there are several layers of management. The roles and responsibilities a particular manager has correlates to their position in the organization. While job titles and roles can vary from organization to organization, they typically fall into one of three levels of management.
The first level of management is called top-level management. Top management is made up of senior-level executives of an organization, or those positions that hold the most responsibility. Jobs titles such as Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), President, or Vice President are commonly used by top managers in organizations. These top managers are responsible for setting the overall direction of a company and making sure that major organizational objectives are achieved. Their leadership role can extend over the entire organization or for specific divisions such as finance, marketing, human resources, or operations.