The manager role is the “catalyst” role. As with all catalysts, the manager’s function is to speed up the reaction between two substances, thus creating the desired end product. Specifically, the manager creates performance in each employee by speeding up the reaction between the employee’s talents and the company’s goals and between the employee’s talents and the customers’ needs.

When hundreds of managers play this role well, the company becomes strong, one employee at a time. No doubt, in today’s slimmed-down business world, most of these managers also shoulder other responsibilities. They are expected to be subject-matter experts, individual superstars and sometimes leaders in their own right. These are important roles, which great managers execute with varying styles and degrees of success. But when it comes to the manager aspect of their responsibilities, great managers all excel at this catalyst role.

— First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Gallup Press