Traditionally the job of the manager involved the direct management of a team of people. Increasingly managers act as 'singletons', they have no direct teams, but have an important role in indirectly supporting the work efforts of others. Managers usually have specific performance targets to hit. Managers help other people get their work done in efficient, high quality and personally satisfying ways. In the past managers were often seen as 'planners', 'controllers', 'thinkers', 'communicators' or 'organisers' (see reality check: three takes on the job of the Chief Executive Officer). Today managers are more often referred to as 'coaches', 'team leaders', 'recruiters of talent' or 'player managers' (see reality check: managed professionals) Reality Check Three Takes on the Job of the Chief Executive Officer

The job of the chief executive officer is to think', she says. "That's one of your big jobs, to think the company into its strategy, and into its plans for execution; not thinking would be a bad thing. In fact, I used to schedule in a certain amount of time to read . . . I read things that might be provocative, that I never would have read, things from other industries, to get me to think.'

Source: 'Inside the mind of a CEO. Interview by Stefan Stern with Marjorie Scardino, CEO of Pearson, the global media company', RSA journal, (October 2002), p 39.

'. . . the difficult and never-ending responsibility of a chief executive officer and the members of the company's senior leadership team to communicate to every employee in every way possible just what it is that the company is in business to accomplish and what its immutable values are. That means communicating by site visits, town hall staff meetings, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with business unit leadership, web casts, intranets, video conferences, staff memos and on and on until you are blue in the face from talking about this stuff . . . and then you simply go out and do it all over again. It is a message that cannot be repeated often enough.'

Source: 'New York Times Company President and Chief Executive Officer Russell Lewis, on "The CEO's lot is not a happy one'", Academy of Management Executive and Address, (11 August 2002).

'Crowing up, I had a lot of chores to do, tasks that were my sole responsibility as an individual contributor, but I was also contributing to the entire family. I learned very quickly that all the chores, in addition to my own, must get done even when a brother was gone. Whether working on the farm or playing on the sports field, I discovered early on that success centres on people responsibility, 25playing different roles at different times for the greater good. As the chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin, I've seen that kind of teamwork makes all the difference.'

Source: 'Lockheed Martin, Chairman and CEO, Vance Coffman on achieving mission success, interview by Hal. B. Gregersen and Jeffrey H. Dyer', Academy of Management Executive, 16 3 August 2002), p 33.

Reality Check Managed Professionals

Encouraged by the new corporate governance environment that grew up in the 1990s, professional organisations strengthened and formalised their management. More full-time managerial positions were created, particularly in the areas of operations, finance, information technology and human resources as these functions were expanded to meet the growing complexity of the firms. Administrators and executives from outside the professions were appointed to roles such as 'practice manager', 'marketing director', 'chief operating officer' and occasionally 'chief executive', and the incorporation of partnerships became more widespread. . .

In most professional service firms, team leaders and even business unit and division heads still combine client interface with team management, and now they have to interact with the central management framework as well. They are still player managers, operating in a culture where it is their performance as players rather than position in the management structure that wins the respect of the people they are managing.

Source: Auger, P. and Palmer, J. (2002), The rise of the player manager: how professionals manage while they work, Penguin, p 24.