Five Roles of the Manager

Five Roles of the Manager is for managers within HR (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.

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.

Sometimes you're a supervisor, a coach, a mediator, or even an inspirational speaker. You’re often a decision-maker. However, these roles are also changing with our new normal—there’s been a shift in what it means to supervise, coach, comfort, and learn in today’s context.

HR leaders and managers understand that navigating these roles is especially important. We need to nurture and care for our own teams, even as we support and influence teams across the organization.

  • ApproachOnline social learning, teams of 30-50

  • Learning Time5-8 Hours

  • Duration5 weeks. Next starting: April 3, 2023
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Key Questions You’ll Explore in this Program

How can we support our employees as whole human beings?

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

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

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

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

Field Manuals

The Five Roles of the Manager Program is made up of 5 Field Manuals (our version of an online module). Each one contains a variety 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.

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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