The Most Difficult Function of a Manager: An Insight into the Challenges of Leadership

Choose the function you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 9, 2024 06:38
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! We're excited to present our latest ranking, delving into the challenging world of management. "What is the most difficult function of a manager?" is a question that has baffled and intrigued professionals for ages. Now, it's your turn to weigh in on this fascinating debate. Explore our carefully curated list of managerial functions, vote for the one you find most difficult, and watch as the rankings change in real-time. Think we've missed something crucial? No worries – simply suggest your missing option and watch it climb the ranks as others vote on its inherent difficulty. This is your chance to contribute to an ever-evolving conversation and gain insights into what makes management a truly complex art. So, let your voice be heard, and let's uncover the toughest challenges faced by managers together!

What Is the Most Difficult Function of a Manager?

  1. 1
    Managers are responsible for making important decisions that can have a significant impact on the organization's future. They must weigh options, consider risks, and choose the best course of action.
    Decision making is a cognitive process that involves selecting the best possible option from several alternatives based on the given information and personal preferences. It is the ability to make choices and arrive at a conclusion or solution to a specific problem or situation.
    • Complexity: Involves analyzing various factors, weighing pros and cons, and considering multiple possibilities.
    • Critical Thinking: Requires logical reasoning and evaluating the potential outcomes.
    • Risk Assessment: Involves assessing the potential risks associated with each decision.
    • Emotional Influence: Can be influenced by personal emotions and biases.
    • Information Processing: Relies on gathering and processing relevant information.
    Decision making in other rankings
  2. 2
    Effective communication is critical for managers to convey goals, expectations, and feedback to employees. They must also communicate with other departments, stakeholders, and customers.
    Communication is a crucial skill in volleyball that involves effective and clear exchange of information between teammates. It allows players to coordinate their movements, make quick decisions, and anticipate each other's actions. Effective communication helps create a cohesive team and enhances overall performance on the court.
    • Verbal Communication: Players use spoken words to share information, such as calling out the ball, calling for a set, or communicating defensive strategies.
    • Non-Verbal Communication: Players use hand signals, eye contact, and body language to convey messages quickly and efficiently.
    • Timing: Clear and timely communication ensures that players are synchronized and can execute plays effectively.
    • Listening Skills: Players need to actively listen and understand their teammates' instructions or calls.
    • Positive Reinforcement: Encouraging and supportive communication helps boost team morale and motivation.
  3. 3
    Managers must inspire and motivate their team to achieve organizational goals. This requires strong leadership skills, such as setting a clear vision, providing direction, and fostering a positive work culture.
    Leadership is the ability to inspire and guide individuals or a group towards a common goal, utilizing strategic thinking, effective communication, and influential decision-making. It empowers women to take charge, make positive change, and contribute to society and organizations as influential leaders.
    • Visionary: Having a clear vision and the ability to articulate it to others.
    • Confidence: Believing in oneself and encouraging others to have faith in their abilities.
    • Empathy: Understanding and considering the emotions and perspectives of others.
    • Resilience: Having the strength and determination to overcome challenges and persist in the face of adversity.
    • Collaboration: Fostering a cooperative environment, valuing diverse opinions, and promoting teamwork.
  4. 4

    Time management

    Peter Drucker
    Managers must juggle multiple responsibilities and prioritize tasks to meet deadlines and goals. They must also delegate tasks to employees and ensure that everyone is working efficiently.
    Time management is the ability to plan, organize, and prioritize tasks in order to make the most efficient use of time. It involves setting goals, creating schedules, and managing distractions to ensure productivity and maximize accomplishments.
    • Goal setting: The skill of defining clear objectives and identifying what needs to be accomplished.
    • Prioritization: The ability to determine the order of tasks and address the most important ones first.
    • Planning: Creating a schedule or action plan that outlines the necessary tasks and their deadlines.
    • Time allocation: Allocating appropriate amounts of time to each task based on its importance and complexity.
    • Organizational skills: Efficiently arranging tasks, resources, and information to enhance productivity and minimize confusion.
    Time management in other rankings
  5. 5
    Managers must address conflicts and disagreements among employees, customers, and stakeholders. They must find ways to resolve disputes and maintain positive relationships.
    Conflict resolution is the ability to effectively manage and resolve disagreements or conflicts between individuals or groups. It involves facilitating communication, understanding different perspectives, and finding mutually beneficial solutions in a peaceful manner.
    • Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing emotions to maintain a calm and empathetic approach during conflicts
    • Active Listening: Attentively listening to the concerns and needs of all parties involved
    • Communication Skills: Conveying thoughts, opinions, and information clearly and diplomatically
    • Negotiation Skills: Finding compromises and win-win solutions
    • Problem-Solving: Analyzing issues, identifying root causes, and generating innovative solutions
    Conflict resolution in other rankings
  6. 6

    Performance management

    Modern management practices
    Managers must evaluate employee performance, provide feedback, and identify areas for improvement. They must also develop strategies to enhance employee productivity and engagement.
    Performance management is a crucial function of a manager that involves the overall process of setting goals, evaluating employee performance, providing feedback, and planning development initiatives to enhance performance. It is a systematic approach designed to ensure employees meet their performance expectations and contribute effectively to the organization's success.
    • Goal setting: Establishing clear and measurable objectives aligned with organizational goals.
    • Performance evaluation: Assessing employee performance against defined goals and expectations.
    • Feedback: Providing ongoing feedback to employees about their performance, strengths, and areas for improvement.
    • Development planning: Creating tailored development plans to help employees enhance their skills and capabilities.
    • Performance measurement: Using various metrics and indicators to track and measure employee performance.
    Performance management in other rankings
  7. 7

    Budgeting and financial management

    Administrative Office Manager
    Managers must manage budgets, track expenses, and ensure that the organization is financially stable. They must also make strategic financial decisions to achieve long-term success.
    Budgeting and financial management is a critical aspect of the role of an Administrative Office Manager. It involves planning, organizing and controlling the financial resources of an organization to ensure effective and efficient use of funds. This includes the development and management of budgets, financial reporting, forecasting, and making informed financial decisions.
    • Budget development: Creating and overseeing the budgeting process for the organization.
    • Expense tracking: Monitoring and recording all expenses to track against the budget.
    • Financial analysis: Analyzing financial data and preparing reports to identify trends, risks, and opportunities.
    • Cash flow management: Ensuring the organization has enough cash flow to meet financial obligations and make strategic investments.
    • Cost control: Implementing strategies to manage and reduce costs without compromising quality or efficiency.
    Budgeting and financial management in other rankings
  8. 8
    Managers must develop and implement strategic plans to achieve organizational goals. They must analyze market trends, identify opportunities, and adapt to changes in the business environment.
    Strategic planning is a critical aspect of preparing a financial forecast as it involves establishing a long-term vision and direction for an organization's financial future. It entails analyzing market trends, setting financial goals, and formulating strategies to achieve them. By integrating strategic planning into a financial forecast, businesses can align their financial resources with their overall organizational objectives, making informed decisions and increasing the likelihood of success.
    • Market Analysis: Assessing market trends, competition, and customer behavior to identify opportunities and challenges that may impact financial performance.
    • Financial Goal Setting: Establishing specific, measurable, and realistic financial goals that are aligned with the organization's strategic objectives.
    • Resource Allocation: Determining the allocation of financial resources, such as capital investments, operating expenses, and funding sources, to support the strategic initiatives.
    • Risk Assessment: Identifying potential risks and uncertainties that may affect the financial forecast, and implementing strategies to mitigate those risks.
    • Scenario Analysis: Conducting scenario analysis to evaluate the impact of different internal and external factors on the financial forecast, enabling better decision-making.
    Strategic planning in other rankings
  9. 9

    Talent management

    David Watkins
    Managers must recruit, hire, and train employees who have the necessary skills and qualifications to meet organizational needs. They must also retain top talent and develop strategies to enhance employee engagement and satisfaction.
    Talent management refers to the process of identifying, attracting, developing, and retaining talented individuals within an organization. It involves creating strategies and implementing practices to effectively manage the entire talent lifecycle, from recruitment to retirement.
    • Talent Identification: Identifying individuals with potential and skills that align with organizational goals.
    • Recruitment: Attracting and selecting top talent through various sourcing channels.
    • Onboarding and Orientation: Assimilating new employees into the organization and providing essential training.
    • Performance Management: Implementing processes to monitor and evaluate employee performance.
    • Learning and Development: Providing opportunities for continuous skill development and career growth.
  10. 10
    Risk management
    US gov · Public domain
    Managers must identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. They must also ensure that the organization is compliant with regulations and laws that apply to their industry.
    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks in order to minimize negative impacts and capitalize on opportunities. It involves analyzing potential threats and vulnerabilities, developing effective strategies to mitigate risks, and monitoring and evaluating risk factors to ensure ongoing protection and success of the organization.
    • Identification: Identifying potential risks and threats that may impact the organization.
    • Assessment: Assessing the likelihood and potential impact of identified risks.
    • Prioritization: Prioritizing risks based on their severity and likelihood.
    • Mitigation: Developing and implementing strategies to minimize or eliminate identified risks.
    • Monitoring: Continuously monitoring risk factors to ensure timely identification of changes or new risks.
    Risk management in other rankings

Missing your favorite function?


Ranking factors for difficult function

  1. Decision-making
    A manager should be able to make well-informed decisions in a timely manner, taking into account various factors such as team dynamics, available resources, and company goals. This can be challenging due to the complexity of situations and potential risks involved.
  2. Time management
    A manager has to balance multiple tasks and responsibilities, often with limited time and resources. This includes delegating tasks, setting priorities, and ensuring that deadlines are met.
  3. Communication
    Effective communication is essential for a manager to ensure that their team is aligned with the organization's goals and expectations. This involves listening and understanding different perspectives, as well as clearly conveying information and providing feedback.
  4. Conflict resolution
    Managers often have to deal with conflicts among team members or between teams. The ability to maintain a professional and unbiased approach, find common ground, and mediate disagreements is crucial.
  5. Adaptability
    A manager must be able to quickly adapt to changes, such as new technologies, market conditions, or company strategies. This requires flexibility, openness to learning, and the ability to lead a team through periods of uncertainty.
  6. Leadership and motivation
    Managers need to inspire and motivate their team to perform at their best, which may involve different leadership styles based on the individuals and the overall group dynamics.
  7. Performance management
    Managers should be skilled in evaluating their team's performance, setting clear expectations and goals, and helping team members to develop their skills and achieve their potential.
  8. Managing resources
    Ensuring the team has the necessary resources to achieve their goals, including budget, personnel, and technology, can be challenging, particularly when resources are finite or need to be shared across multiple teams or projects.
  9. Compliance and risk management
    Managers need to be aware of relevant laws, regulations, and company policies and ensure that their team operates within these boundaries. This can be complex due to the ever-changing nature of regulations and the associated risks.
  10. Emotional intelligence
    A good manager must be able to recognize, understand, and manage their emotions, as well as those of their team members. This involves empathy, self-awareness, and a broad understanding of human behavior.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult function of a manager. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or function is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 167 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each function once every 24 hours. The rank of each function is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most difficult function of a manager

As a manager, there are a multitude of responsibilities and tasks that must be managed and executed effectively. However, one of the most challenging aspects of being a manager is managing people. This includes everything from hiring and training employees, to resolving conflicts and motivating your team to achieve their goals. Managing people requires a combination of strong communication skills, empathy, and the ability to make tough decisions. It also involves being able to balance the needs of the organization with the needs of individual employees. Effective people management is crucial for the success of any organization. When employees feel valued, supported, and motivated, they are more likely to be productive and engaged. On the other hand, poor people management can lead to high turnover rates, low morale, and decreased productivity. Overall, the most difficult function of a manager is arguably managing people. It requires a combination of skills, knowledge, and emotional intelligence to be successful. By prioritizing effective people management, managers can help create a positive and productive work environment for their team.

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