The top person of an organization has a range of possible roles and background, such as a seasoned executive, a third generation business owner, a manager who started at “the bottom” and worked her way up, a new entrepreneur, or the managing partner in a partnership. (Titles might be CEO, President, Owner, Executive Director, Managing Partner, or General Manager)

I am often asked from business owners or top managers “what should I spend my time doing?”
Many have heard how they should work “on the business” not “in the business.”

This means that the top manager does not spend very much time (less than 20% is ideal) on direct or administrative work that should be delegated to staff.

Here is a list of typical functions and essential duties for the Top Manager of an organization.

[If you are not very knowledgeable in these areas or do not have strong competencies in strategic thinking, planning and project management, I urge you to hire these skills sets in your management team and / or find advisors who can provide the expertise and direction your organization will require to survive and thrive.]

Top Manager Duties

1. Set Direction

Provide strategic direction for organization, provide leadership and oversight of management team to implementation of short and long-term goals to achieve strategic objectives.

2. Administration

  • Establish and implement departmental policies, goals, objectives, and procedures, conferring with managers, staff, board members
  • Appoint department heads or managers and assign or delegate responsibilities to them
  • Direct, plan, and implement policies, objectives, and activities of organization to ensure continuing operations, to maximize returns on investments, and increase productivity

3. Evaluate and Re-direct

  • Analyze operations to evaluate organization performance and staff in meeting objectives, and to determine areas of potential cost reduction, program improvement, or policy change
  • Confer with staff members, managers, consultants, board members to discuss issues, coordinate activities, and resolve problems
  • Direct and coordinate an organization’s financial and budget activities to fund operations, maximize investments, and increase efficiency, prepare budgets for approval, including those for funding and implementation of programs
  • Monitor industry and market conditions and trends, product innovations, and competitors’ products, prices, and sales

4. Oversee Departments and Functions

  • Delivery and distribution of products/ services
  • Sales and marketing
  • Finance and accounting
  • Human resources
  • Information technology

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