What is Management?

Not long ago I found myself reviewing resumes and pouring over past experiences, education history, and skills.  I was in full detective mode, reading between the lines, marking notes, highlighting, and searching for clues.  What was I looking for? I was in search of management potential.

what is management

Before I could identify my future manager I had to know what I was looking for.  I sat back in my chair, a stack of resumes before me on my desk, and asked myself one very important question.  What is Management?  What makes a good manager?  What does management do, really?

We’ve all seen signs saying something similar to “please use other door, thank you.  Management.”  I highly doubt the use of a door was a decision made by the executives of the company, however, this decision does represent the company as a whole.  Thus selecting a good manager is critical.  However, before a manger can be selected, executives must be able to define management.

This is my list of criteria to answer the question “what is management?”

Are they rung material – Management isn’t one person.  Management is a collective ladder of authority with the top rungs being the executive leaders.  Without good sturdy rungs on the bottom, the top rungs will never be reached.  Big problems in the company will never reach the executives and will thus ruin a company.

Are they problem solvers – One of the main duties of a good Leader is problem solving.  Managers are your first line of defense against problems.  They provide much needed oversight on a micro scale.

Are they a good traffic director – As problems arise, good deeds are done, top performance is achieved, and trouble happens, management is responsible for deciding how this information is handled.  Is this big enough to push up the ladder?  Can this be handled now or do we need to appeal to a higher level of authority? The ability to relay the correct information, while pigeon holing the rest, is key to being a great member of the leadership team.

Are they a good risk consultant – Can they find risk and mitigate it? Manager must be able to identify the circumstances that might cause trouble in the workplace and mitigate the chances of trouble occurring.  They must identify areas of weakness and help employees avoid falling into them.

Are they a planner – Can they plan ahead?  Can they foresee trouble and plan around it?  For instance, are they able to identify a coming paper shortage and order more? Leaders must be able to keep the boat afloat by providing the tools and materials necessary for work to continue.  Planning ahead is a critical ability for a manger.

What is management?  Before you can identify a manger you must be able to define what management is.  My 5 key characteristics are just a jumping point.  For me, these 5 MUST be met for me to even begin considering a candidate for a management position.


What is management to you?  How would you define it?

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