A Guide to a Career in Management (Career Paths and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A company's success often depends on the performance and delivery of its employees. An efficient manager directs people working under them to achieve the company's objectives and bring success. Learning about a career in management can help you decide if it's right for you and prepare you to enter a leadership role. In this article, we explain what a career in management is, list a few different types of management careers and share some benefits and challenges of pursuing a career as a manager.

What is a career in management?

A career in management is an advanced, leadership position where you oversee a team of colleagues or a department. A manager can play a variety of roles within an organisation, including the following:

Figurehead

Managers play this role when they represent the organisation to external parties. In these situations, you become the face of the company to the outside world. The manager has an authoritative role and employees may look up to them for inspiration.

Leader

This role is where the manager shows leadership qualities. The leader guides and motivates their co-workers to achieve the objectives of the organisation. As a team manager, you may play this role while motivating other employees, negotiating salaries and encouraging creative ideas.

Liaison

As a manager, it's essential to network and communicate effectively with internal and external contacts. Relationship building is essential for a manager. Knowing and updating government rules, gathering information about competitors and identifying new customers can help improve the company's profits.

Monitor

A manager continuously monitors the changes happening in the industry and within the organisation. In this role, you also may review the work of your team members. Attention to detail is one quality that a manager may develop to carry out the responsibilities of this role.

Disseminator

In this role, you effectively communicate and pass the correct information to your team members. This is crucial when you give information about any changes happening in the organisation or within your team. In the disseminator role, you process information and identify ways to communicate a message with your team.

Spokesperson

As a spokesperson manager, you represent the organisation to the outside world. In this role, you're responsible for sharing information about the organisation and its goal. Therefore, presentation skills and good verbal communication are key qualities for this role.

Entrepreneur

Managers are change agents in an organisation. This implies that you play a decisional role and control the change within your organisation. Companies expect managers to create new initiatives, identify and implement changes and generate solutions to problems.

Disturbance handler

Conflicts and roadblocks are common in any organisation. As a manager, you help the organisation in solving this. In such cases, the manager takes the role of a mediator and resolves any conflicts that may arise.

Resource allocator

In the resource allocator position, you're in an important decision-making role. You do this by identifying and allocating the right people for specific work and distributing funds most efficiently. By doing so, the manager can help the company increase profits and successfully achieve its goals.

Negotiator

As a manager, you may have to take part in various negotiations with your team members and customers. Negotiation skills can be of significant benefit in resolving any disagreements that arise between you and others. Developing good communication and networking skills can help the managers in this role.

Read more: Management Skills: Definitions and Examples

Different types of management career paths

There are different types of managers in an organisation. Here are some of the key managerial career paths you may pursue:

Operations manager

The primary responsibility of an operations manager is to increase the organisation's performance and make sure that the company's products and services meet the quality standards. The duties of an operations manager vary according to the organisation, but generally, they're responsible for supervising existing processes and analysing their effectiveness, managing quality assurance programs and devising strategies to improve productivity and efficiency. They help a company operate effectively.

Marketing manager

Marketing managers develop strategies to increase a company's sales and maximise profit. They're also responsible for planning and conducting market studies to understand the market trends, competitor positioning and the needs of the customers. In this position, you may take part in the decision-making discussions regarding the price, advertising and promotional activities of a brand's products and services.

Human resource manager

HR managers focus mainly on people. Their responsibilities include recruiting and selecting the right people, training new recruits and setting the company's HR policies. The human resources department also deals with performance appraisals, organisational change, trade unions and labour rules.

Finance manager

The finance manager looks into a company's financial aspects, such as allocating investments, preparing yearly financial reports, raising funds and setting up long-term financial goals. The finance manager predicts future trends and plans the allocation of funds accordingly. Good analytical, communication and negotiation skills are essential for a finance manager.

Benefits of a management career

There are multiple benefits of pursuing a career in management. Here are some of the benefits:

Decision-making power

Managers play a crucial role in the decision-making process. Being in the role of a manager gives you opportunities to express your opinions and ideas. Managers are involved in the goal-setting for themselves and their employees, making them an essential part of a company's growth.

Career opportunities

When you take up a managerial role, you get additional opportunities for growth and learning compared to other employees. Since managers play a significant role in goal setting and decision making, companies provide them with continuous training and skill development. This helps them to reach higher positions in their career.

Networking opportunities

A person in a managerial role interacts with many internal and external contacts. Building a healthy relationship with these people helps you to navigate your career successfully. Networking mainly becomes beneficial while switching jobs or closing deals.

Higher pay

A person in a managerial position can earn more than a person in a nonmanagerial post. In addition, you can also earn bonuses and other compensations. Another advantage of being a manager is the knowledge about how the pay system works and how to move to a higher pay scale.

Better work environment

The manager has the authority to set guidelines to empower the team members. When you become a manager, you can communicate to the team what your expectations are. This helps in creating a collaborative work environment for all the people reporting to you.

Read more: What Are the Roles of a Manager?

Challenges of a management career

Here are some of the common challenges you may face while pursuing a career as a manager:

Performance pressure

Sometimes managers may feel pressure to deliver value to the organisation. Deadlines and a shortage of employees can also add to the pressure. A good manager learns to handle stress and responds to the situation more calmly. As you gain experience, you can identify potential challenges and solve them faster.

Lack of communication

When managers are engaged in many tasks, they may forget to maintain constant communication with their team members. This may affect the team's performance. Setting up a suitable channel for communication can avoid this. Also, the manager can engage in one-to-one communication with their team members to gain a deeper understanding of their concerns.

Time management

A manager's role has multiple responsibilities. They supervise the work of their team members, coordinate with other departments and perform their tasks. As a result, managers may face a shortage of time. Prioritising and scheduling work efficiently can help managers in such scenarios. You can inform the team when you're available for discussions so that at other times, you can focus on other tasks.

Skills for a management career

Management skills are a set of abilities or qualities a person can develop to become a successful manager. Here are some skills you may develop to help you succeed in a management career:

Motivation

Being a strong motivator is essential for the success of your team. A good manager is skilled at encouraging their team members. Maintaining the focus and energy of the team members towards achieving the organisational goals is also a manager's responsibility.

Read more: 15 Project Management Skills Every Manager Should Have

Communication

As a manager, you can communicate your expectations clearly to each of your team members. Lack of clarity in communicating the objectives may cause confusion and reduced performance, eventually leading to diminished employee enthusiasm. Open communications make it easier to get the work done efficiently.

Goal setting

Setting goals for your co-workers is one of the primary responsibilities of a manager. The goals can be realistic and measurable. Being a manager, you may also explain how each employee's goals contribute to the company's overall goal.

Problem-solving

When you play the role of a manager in an organisation, you may have to deal with various problems daily. A good manager can identify the source of the problem and give the best possible solution. Having strong problem-solving skills can help you to increase your team member's confidence and trust in you as a manager.

Delegation

Delegation involves allocating the right amount of work to the right person. Effective delegation can help you complete tasks successfully. Managers with good delegation skills can efficiently divide the work and assign tasks to relevant team members. This can save time and improve the quality of work.

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