Five Roles of the Manager

Management—especially now—is not something that can be learned in a book. Real management happens through a series of moments, interactions, and conversations that shape our relationships with employees and determine outcomes for all involved.

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Course Snapshot

6-8 Hours over 5 Weeks
Next session: Oct. 21
Enroll by: Oct. 28
Online social learning in teams of 30-50
Certificate of completion, SHRM + HRCI credits

Course Overview

Five Roles of the Manager is for HR managers (with or without formal titles) who need to re-imagine the way they work in a shifting world with exciting and complex new demands for leaders at all levels. It begins with the simple truth that being a manager is not one thing, but many—shining a light on five essential roles that every manager and leader must master.

Questions You'll Explore:

  • How can we support our employees as whole human beings?

  • How can we coach our team while also giving support to individual employees?

  • How can learning help us pivot our organizations in times of uncertainty?

  • How can communicating with honesty, transparency, and vulnerability affect our ability to lead?

  • How do we make decisions when we don't feel like we have the answers?

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Field Manuals

The Five Roles of the Manager course is made up of five Field Manuals (our version of an online module). Each one contains a variety of types of content and social exercises culminating in a mini-project, reflection, or debate. Each Field Manual will take you between 30-45 minutes to complete but you can jump on and off at your own pace, as often as you’d like. The deeper learning happens in the discussions with your fellow learners, so be sure to check in on the conversations regularly.


  • 30-45 minutes to complete

    Bite-sized, easy to read modules for an efficient learning experience.

  • Self paced

    You can jump on and off at your own pace, as often as you'd like.

  • Engaging learning modules

    Each field manual contains different types of content and social exercises, all culminating in a mini-project, reflection, or debate.

  • The Supervisor

    In a world deeply changed by hybrid and remote work, managers and team leaders in HR must adapt. We have to begin by embracing our work as supervisors. This work is less about enforcing productivity and more about enabling performance. Instead of asking whether our teams punched the clock, we need to ask whether our people are paying attention to what matters.

  • The Communicator

    As the world of work becomes more—or even fully—digital, the way we communicate as managers must undergo a similar shift. We have to reimagine the way we communicate with our people. We need to be less formal and more frequent. Give fewer presentations and have more conversations. Talk less and listen more. To do this, we need to make a habit out of practicing and adapting the way we deliver our messages.

  • The Coach

    Good managers are like coaches––they enable the people around them to do their best work. In HR, we know this intimately; we often find ourselves coaching people throughout our organizations. The shifting nature of the way we work requires a communication style that flows in both directions, and our coaching style needs to reflect this, too. Coaching isn’t just about the individual; working today is a team sport.

  • The Decision Maker

    HR managers make important decisions every day. However, that doesn’t mean we’re automatically good at it. How should we navigate decision making amid uncertainty? How should we weigh risks and rewards for particular decisions? Sometimes the best way to make decisions is by freeing ourselves of the pressure to make them at all.

  • The Learner

    We know the absolute necessity of continuous learning: we enable our people to do it every day. But what about on our own teams? Are we as committed to their learning as we are to the broad idea of learning across the organization? A true commitment to learning means embracing transparency and humility, inviting questions and feedback, and celebrating honest mistakes.

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Featured Voices

Belinda Liu
Belinda Liu
Global Head of Learning Solutions and Partnering of Novartis
Matt Burr
Matt Burr
CEO & Co-Founder of Nomadic Learning
Global Analyst and Senior Vice President of Research
Kathi Enderes
Senior VP of Research & Global Industry Analyst of The Josh Bersin Company

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