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Two Unique Responsibilities for Every Manager

In the labyrinth of corporate hierarchy, the role of a manager often gets obscured. Many blur the lines between a leader and a manager, failing to appreciate the distinctive roles they play within an organization. To unravel these subtleties and shine a spotlight on the unique role of managers, I spoke with Matt Ley, author of Manage Your Gaps: Reclaiming The Awesomeness of Management. Matt emphasized the critical influence managers have in facilitating operational efficiency, fostering a culture of collaboration, and enhancing overall organizational value. 

Here, Matt shares 4 key responsibilities every manager needs to fulfill. 

1. Be the Bridge Between Leadership and Individual Contributors

Imagine a bridge spanning the gap between the strategic vision of the leaders and the ground-level execution of tasks by individual contributors. This bridge is the manager, who ensures a seamless flow of communication and information across the organization. They channel crucial insights from the operational level to leadership and vice versa, making them key parties in decision-making and organizational alignment.

Managers also play a critical role in orchestrating the transformation of ideas into reality. They navigate the terrain between ideation and execution, and their objective is not merely to hand over concepts from creators to implementers. Instead, they are the catalysts who enable innovation, ensuring resources are allocated effectively and roadblocks are addressed proactively. 

As the intermediary, managers often need to balance innovation with optimization. As the future of the business relies on innovation, managers must work with their games to develop goals that stretch into unknown territory. At the same time, success today is dependent on effective execution. Working with their team members, managers must set metrics for maintaining strong performance. This tension isn’t one to resolve but rather to manage.

2. Shape an Environment That Enables People To Do and Be Their Best

Matt explains that establishing an environment conducive to getting good work done is paramount to the team’s success. Managers have to create clarity around roles, responsibilities, and accountability. In large part, this comes from having effective and efficient processes. 

Instead of viewing processes as cumbersome or inflexible, Matt believes they are actually the backbone of agility in an organization. They provide a solid ground for the organization to pivot strategically, just as a well-paved road, compared to a sandy beach, gives a runner the stability and agility needed to quickly shift directions. 

Managers can work with their team members to understand what they do and how their work interfaces with other team members’ activities. As processes and knowledge are documented, managers can help their team members remove the “golden handcuffs” that often keep someone stuck in their role, unable to take vacation or advance their career simply because they’re the only one who knows how to get something done. 

In conclusion, managers are the vital link that holds together the workings of an organization. They are the bridge, the catalyst, and the orchestrator that amplify the impact of individual contributions. Understanding the unique role managers play is the first step towards harnessing the full spectrum of talent within an organization to drive sustainable growth and success.

Listen to the entire episode HERE to learn more about how to crush your job as a manager.

Keep up with Matt Ley

- Follow Matt on LinkedIn here

- Visit his website for more information here

Guest Bonus: 50-Page Workbook for EP!C Management Program

Matt is providing the workbook that accompanies his 12-week EP!C Management Training Program. At 50 pages, the goal of this workbook is to help you understand how to set up your environment, measure performance to drive success, understand your identity, and get clear on the role of communication.

Get this guest bonus and many other member benefits when you join The Modern Manager Podcast+ Community.


The Modern Manager is a leadership podcast for rockstar managers who want to create a working environment where people thrive, and great work gets done.

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