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5 Roles And Responsibilities Of Every Effective Line Manager

A group of business people posing for a marketing photo.

Typically in any business,  the availability of a manager is critical, and the management of resources and proper utilization of these resources makes a business thrive in today's changing world.

As a business, you must use your resources to get what you want and remain relevant in the market. Resources in this regard come as products and human capital. Humans are an organization's most excellent resource.

However, with adequate management of these resources, the objective of your organization will most likely be met. In this article, we will understand line managers' role and importance. Before we know who a line manager is, let's first understand who a manager is.

Who Is A Manager?

Most importantly, a manager is a professional who takes on a leadership role in an organization. This leadership role enables them to manage a team of employees to meet the goals and objectives of the organization. Managers play a vital role in the success of an organization.

Three Responsibilities of a Manager 

As a manager, you are tasked with specific responsibilities that you have to take on skillfully; here are three primary responsibilities.

Decision Making 

This is very important for managers to carry out effectively. Taking the bull by the horn for your department is highly necessary. 

Often, managers are faced with making tough decisions. Therefore, they must have strong decision-making skills. Sometimes, managers must communicate with their employees to help them make the best decisions.

Team Leads 

Managers are usually accountable for training their employees to perform better in their duties. They are responsible for offering their team members and employees professional development opportunities. A thought leader should also stay up to date with the new and disruptive trends of leadership.

They also wear the shoulder pads of mentors to their subordinates to teach them skills they could use as they advance their careers.

Conflict Control 

Conflict, as we know, is inevitable in any organization where humans are present. People from different places, with different values, ideas, and nature, come together to achieve a common goal. As such, conflict of all these things is bound to occur. 

Managers address conflicts when necessary. They usually exert conflict resolution skills to help maintain a positive work environment for their team and the organization.

Who Is A Line Manager

A line manager is known to be an employee who directly manages other employees and processes to report to a senior manager. They can be called a supervisor or team leaders. A line manager is entrusted with attaining business growth in a specific active line of business.

They supervise employees to achieve business goals and are the intermediaries between the management and the staff. Line managers also provide daily guidance, motivation, and feedback to employees. They play a massive role in shaping the culture of teams.

Companies could invest in training their line managers through external training. Places like London, UK, offer many professionally recognized training for line managers. Companies could send them on management training in London. Line managers need training for various reasons; here are a few 

  • training enables them to have clarity in communication
  • it helps them achieve goals easily
  • it teaches them how to prioritize and plan
  • enables them to understand how to handle conflict and performance issues
  • training sheds light on how to manage themselves and other people

Roles And Responsibilities Of Every Effective Line Manager 

Line managers must efficiently manage the resources under their care to perform their duties. They are entrusted with specific responsibilities to achieve organizational objectives, and these are a few of them.

Strategy Implementation

Line managers are responsible for ensuring that strategies are implemented at lower levels. 

These managers are also best positioned to estimate performance, recognize bottlenecks with the strategy execution programs, and promptly resolve issues to meet goals. They are in the best position to identify problems with the strategy execution programs.

Mentoring And Coaching 

Line managers are responsible for mentoring and coaching employees in the organization. They coach to show and guide employees on improvement areas and empower them to solve issues on their own and perfectly.

The line managers also need to undergo subsequent management training to help develop them into engaging and effective line managers. Through line manager training, they are taught to understand certain underlying factors to consider when managing a team to achieve a common goal.

Developing Training Plans For Employees

Line managers ensure that training plans enhance employees' motivation and performance, allowing them to achieve organizational goals and objectives.

The right employee training plan can positively change your organization, internally and externally. Training helps to strengthen employees' weak areas and enhance individual performance.

Reporting To Senior Managers 

Line managers are groomed to report to their senior managers dutifully. They relay the outcome of delegated tasks and bring to the notice of senior managers specific issues.

They explain when needed, like when there's friction in time and money.

Developing Team Talents 

For line managers to be effective, talent development is a significant priority. In organizations, line managers are expected to have much control over identifying, developing, and advancing talented professionals on their teams. Line managers' successors often emerge from these teams.

Who Is A Project Manager 


A project manager prepares the construction contract and develops a payment plan established around milestones. These managers are entrusted with site supervision and assessing the work done by employees on site.

They also deal with relationship management in general.

Line Manager And Project Manager – What is the Difference?

Although project managers and line managers manage people, customers, and projects, a line manager has higher authority. Depending on an organization's structure and type, a project manager may or may not be the line manager.

  • A line manager has full-time management, unlike the project manager, which involves part-time.
  • A Project manager is assigned to manage a single project, while the Line Manager manages a line of projects. 
  • A line manager would be aligned with the senior management's vision and strategy and focus more on the company's culture and policies.  
  • A project manager focuses on achieving the project's goals and spends more time on the execution and management of the project team. 

The Functional and Projectized Organization

In the realm of business management, understanding the structure of an organization is crucial. Typically, organizations can be categorized into three types: Functional, Projectized, and Matrix. In a functional organization, the project manager has minimal authority, and the line manager or operational manager holds the primary management role and power. This structure is domain-centric, with specialized departments focusing on their specific functions. Projects in such organizations are approached in a divided manner, ensuring that each department contributes its expertise.

On the other hand, a projectized organization is entirely project-centric. Here, resources are dedicated solely to projects and report directly to the project manager. The project manager holds complete authority over the project and its team, ensuring that the project's goals are met within time, cost, and quality constraints.

The Matrix Organization: A Blend of Both Worlds

The matrix organization is a hybrid structure that combines elements of both functional and projectized organizations. This setup assigns project tasks to team members irrespective of their department or Line of Business (LOB). Line managers in a matrix organization manage teams and team members, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently. These resources report to the functional and project managers, making collaboration and communication paramount. Both managers are responsible for performance reviews, and the project manager often negotiates resource requirements with line managers. A clear understanding of the boundaries between the line manager and the project manager is essential to avoid conflicts and ensure smooth operations.

The Interface Between Project and Line Managers

The working relationship between a project manager and a line manager often referred to as the interface, is pivotal for the success of any project. This interface ensures that project activities align with the organization's goals and are completed within time, cost, and quality constraints. It serves various purposes, such as obtaining necessary resources from functional departments on time, garnering support from line managers during project-related negotiations, and achieving harmony between project work and the line department's tasks. Technical and managerial assistance can also be sought through this interface, making it a vital component of project management.

The Authority Dilemma: Line Manager vs. Project Manager

The question of authority between a line manager and a project manager often arises in organizational setups. While the line manager typically has higher power within the organization's scope, the project manager's authority is confined to the specific project they oversee. The line manager's role aligns more with the senior management's vision and strategy, focusing on the company's culture and policies. In contrast, the project manager is primarily concerned with achieving the project's goals and spends more time on execution and team management. Clarity in job descriptions and set goals for both positions is essential to avoid overlaps and ensure efficient functioning.


In the ever-evolving world of business management, understanding the roles of line and project managers is crucial. While both play pivotal roles in ensuring an organization's success, their responsibilities and authority levels differ. With their broader scope, line managers oversee entire departments and are aligned with the company's overall vision. In contrast, project managers focus on specific projects, ensuring that goals are met within set parameters. These two roles' interfaces are vital, facilitating resource allocation, support, and technical assistance. As businesses grow and adapt, the collaboration between line and project managers will remain a cornerstone of successful project execution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a line manager and a project manager?
A line manager oversees entire departments, while a project manager is responsible for individual projects.

Are project managers first-line managers?
No, project managers are not typically considered first-line managers. They focus on specific projects, while line managers have broader responsibilities overseeing departments.

What does a line manager do?
A line manager oversees entire departments, delegates tasks to team members, provides feedback, and holds authority over promotions, bonuses, and salary adjustments.

What is the hierarchy of a line manager?
The hierarchy of a line manager varies by organization, but they typically report to senior management and oversee team leaders or supervisors within their department.

How do line managers and project managers collaborate?
They collaborate through an interface, ensuring project activities align with organizational goals and are completed within set constraints.

How does a matrix organization function?
In a matrix organization, project tasks are assigned to team members regardless of their department. Resources report to functional and project managers, requiring collaboration and clear communication.

Who holds more authority in a functional organization?
In a functional organization, the line or available manager holds more authority, while the project manager has limited or no control.

Why is the interface between project and line managers important?
The interface ensures collaboration, resource allocation, and alignment of project activities with organizational goals.

How do project managers ensure the success of their projects?
Project managers focus on deliverables, set milestones, streamline processes, and ensure team members stay on task.

What is the role of a line manager in a projectized organization?
In a projectized organization, the line manager's role is minimal, as resources report directly to the project manager.

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