Demands and Constraints of a Manager's Role
The management writer Rosemary Stewart explained that any job is subject to a range of demands and a series of constraints. Inevitably, you'll encounter demands on your time from your peers, your manager, and the employees you manage. You'll need to deal with external demands, such as those created by legislation. You may also be constrained by limits in a budget and resources, location, policy, or regulations.
To succeed as a manager, you need to find ways of working successfully within the relevant constraints while meeting the demands of your job.
You'll be faced with a number of different types of demands and constraints. Being able to identify them will help you to decide how best to deal with them. Some issues are easier to cope with than others, and this can depend on factors within your own organization.
Managers also impose demands on themselves, with high expectations about what they can achieve.
In addition, Rosemary Stewart identified five more demands that managers face:
- Manager-imposed demands
Your boss is likely to have several expectations of you and to place demands on your time.
- Staff-imposed demands
Your staff members will want and expect you to spend time with them, giving advice or training.
- Peer-imposed demands
Other managers within the organization will often require information, support, or assistance from you.
- System-imposed demands
Your organization will have its own set of systems that can't be ignored. These will include systems for creating and tracking budgets, reports, and meetings.
- Externally-imposed demands
Customers, suppliers, or other stakeholders may require information or action from you.
The attitudes and expectations of those around you will constrain the ways you're able to act as a manager. In addition, Stewart identified five constraints for managers:
- Limited resources
All resources are limited in some way. As a manager, you'll have to work with and make the best use of the types and amounts of resources that are available to you.
- Legal regulations
As a manager, you have a responsibility to act within the law and to ensure that your team does too.
- Processes and equipment
You'll be constrained by the processes and equipment available to you. This applies equally to the quality and types of resources available.
- Diverse teams and locations
You may be working with a number of teams, some of which aren't at the same location. You may also find that you have to work with other departments, suppliers, or customers who are geographically remote.
- Policies and procedures
Every organization has its own policies and procedures, and you'll have to work within them.
It might be helpful to consider how the demands and constraints of a manager's job differ from those of your current or previous non-managerial role. Being a successful manager involves juggling conflicting demands, and working within constraints to meet the needs of your organization.
In summary, demands can come from bosses, employees, and customer demands. They can also come from peers, the system, and the external environment. Of course, some of the toughest demands may come from you, yourself. Constraints can include the physical locations of teams, technological limitations, and regulations applied to your industry as a whole. Managers may also be constrained by limited resources, organizational policies, or people's attitudes.
Demands and constraints won't go away. Dealing with them in the best ways possible are what will distinguish you as a successful manager.