Ultimate Glossary of Terms Every Manager Must Know

As a new manager, you need to learn a lot of new things, including terminology. 

To help you get a handle on some of the new concepts being thrown at you, I’ve compiled a list of MUST KNOW terms. 

The list is organized into categories of leadership, project management, sales and marketing, operations and finance, and human resources,

I recommend that you bookmark this page for future reference. With this handy list at your side, you won’t have to worry about dressing to impress.


Adaptability Quotient 

While AQ is still considered a form of intelligence it differs from EQ and IQ.

Thornley and Slater define AQ as measuring the abilities, characteristics, and environmental factors which impact the successful behaviours and actions of people and organizations to effectively respond to uncertainty, new information, or changed circumstances.

In short, AQ refers to one's agility to respond to change. A person's ability to change your thoughts and behaviours in a productive way in your response to change is the defining factor of AQ.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) 

Emotional intelligence is a term coined by Daniel Goleman.

It is defined as your ability to identify and manage your own emotions along with the feelings of others around you. When you have a firm handle on emotional intelligence, you’re able to understand other people’s reactions. 

Understanding other people’s emotional reactions means you can identify the emotions they’re feeling and why they’re feeling them, and how you can negotiate the situation given the dynamic emotional responses. 

Horizontal Leadership

Horizontal leadership is the creation of a system of leadership where information becomes networked and flows horizontally.

A horizontal flow of information differs from vertical leadership where information is passes alogn in hierarchical manner.

Through horizontal leadership a manager can recognize other team member's experiences and expertise empowering them to speak up on what they know best. This creates a flat organization structure where the need for middle management to pass ideas up the hierarchy is eliminate.

Performance Reviews 

Performance reviews are processes used by managers to evaluate members of their team.

A performance review is a coaching conversation between an employee and their manager used to assess gaps and success in performance. Together, the manager and employee set objectives to help the employee improve their performance and position. 

Watch the video below to help you improve your coaching skills before your next performance review. 

You can also access a free performance review in my article, No More Excuses: Your  Ultimate Guide to Remote Team Management.

360-Degree Feedback 

A 360-degree feedback method is a process by which managers collect confidential feedback from an employee’s colleagues.

Questions regarding a broad range of workplace competencies are completed by each team member that the employee works with. 

Managers use this feedback to assess an employee’s performance and create a development plan for the employee. 

Project Management 


Agile project management is an iterative approach in software development project.

It focuses on continually releasing software that has been updated after feedback with customers.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) 

KPIs are a type of performance measurement. They evaluate the success of a project and organization.


Setting effective KPIs relies on a firm understanding of the business and its values. 

To set a good KPI, a manager must understand the business’s long and short-term goals so that projects can effectively align with the business’s needs. 

For a more detailed description of KPI, check out the video below. 



OKRs stand for objective and critical results where objectives are clearly defined goals, and key results are specific measures used to track those goals. 

Key results are measured from 0-100%. A success rate of 70% is encouraged for challenging goals because it keeps goals ambitious, yet  attainable.

Key results that are consistently met at 100% need to be re-evaluated because they’re too easy.  



Using a RACI chart answers the age-old project question, ‘who’s doing what?

A RACI chart is a useful project mapping tool. It is a matrix used to sign roles and responsibilities for tasks and decisions on projects. 

What each letter represents: 

R - Responsible - is the team member(s) doing the work to complete the task. 

A- Accountable -the individual who delegates and reviews the task/deliverable before it’s considered complete. 

C - Consulted -  the people who provide input according to their expertise. For example, when writing a blog, you may need to consult a designer for graphics. 

I - Informed - the team members who are kept in the loop about the project’s process. 


Scrum is an Agile performance management technique where short sprints—typically one or two weeks—of tasks within a project are assigned to members of a team. The idea is that the team works in bursts of two week sprints until all the project tasks from the backlog are completed.

Triple Constraint

This is a project management jargon term that refers to three things that must be managed about every project: 

  1. Time 
  2. Cost 
  3. Quality 


This is a very traditional form of project management. It's often though of as team members working in a linear fashion towards achieving a specified outcome.

Waterfall project management is a process of mapping out a project into separate, sequential phases. Each new phase begins only after the previous pages has been completed.

Sales and Marketing 


In the back pocket of every professional sales persona and marketer are the three abbreviations B2B, B2C, and B2G. 

  1. B2B stands for business-to-business sales describing business transactions with other businesses.


  1. B2C refers to business-to-consumer, which describes business transactions made between a business and its customers. 

  1. B2G means business to government, referring to a transaction between companies and government bodies. 

  1. B2BC is when a company sells a product or service to a business then gaining customers or data from that business that they keep and use.


A business niche is a very specific area of the broader market that a business aims to serve and dominate.

For example, in the market of women's fashion there are various niches such as clothing, shoes, etc that can be found.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

Every business has a website these days, but you must optimize it to appear on search engines if you want traffic to your website. 

SEO is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic that makes its way to your business’s website. 

Check out Niel Patel’s guide for an introduction to the world of SEO and how it will help optimize your business. 


This is the entire sales process as a whole, which includes: 

  1. Top of the Funnel (TOFU) refers to the beginning stage of the sales funnel when the consumer is looking to answer the problem. 
  2. Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) is the middle stage of the sales funnel where your business positions itself as the solution to the consumer’s problem. 
  3. Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) is the end stage of the sales funnel where your customer is ready to buy. 


Pay Per Click (PPC) 

Ads are an essential part of the sales process, and one version is an internet PPC ad. 

PPC is an internet advertising method where you only pay when someone clicks your ad.

Operations and Finance 


A backlog refers to the buildup of work to be completed by the business. 

It is the actual demand, orders or contracts targeted for future sales. 

The backlog can be expressed in units of production time or dollars. For example, four weeks of orders for a company that can produce $5 million per week amounts to a $20 million backlog. 

Note: this is a different definition from the backlogging in a project management sense.

Fiscal Year 

A fiscal year is a defined one year period that companies and governments use for financial reports and budgeting. It is most useful for accounting and financial statements. 

Fiscal years vary depending on the business. For the government, a fiscal year starts on October 1 and ends on September 31 of the next year. 

Smaller businesses often follow the calendar year for tax purposes while corporations customize their fiscal year. 

Risk Management

Understanding the risk involved in any investment is a critical factor that must always be kept in mind. 

A company must always identify and analyze the risks associated with an investment before making the decision to proceed. 

Depending on the company’s investment objectives and risk tolerance will determine how they decide to handle the risks and invest.

Return on Investments (ROI)

Return on Investment (ROI) is a type of performance measure. It is used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency among various investments. ROI attempts to measure the amount of return on investment directly. The formula below is the one most commonly used to calculate ROI. 


SWOT is an environmental and internal business analysis. It looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing your business. A SWOT analysis is an excellent way to identify ways to grow and improve your business. 

To understand how to perform a proper SWOT analysis check out this blog by The Balance.

Human Resources


Attrition refers to voluntary and involuntary terminations including deaths, retirements, etc. that result in a reduction of a business's workforce.

Tracking attrition trends is a common operation in all businesses, especially larger organizations.

Hawthorne Effect

The Hawthorne effect is a phenomenon first observed in an experiment by Elton Mayo where he measured how a work environment impacts worker productivity.

It was found that workers productivity was higher correlated with the variable of being watched rather than variable within the work environment itself. In other words employees productivity is related to whether or not they're monitored, not their actual work environment.

In the context of HR we can apply the Hawthorne effect to employee motivation. Employees with regular evolution metrics they need to meet will be more motivated and productive than their counterparts.


Also known as organizational socialization, onboarding refers to the way new employees are welcomed to the team.

Various mechanisms are used to help employees gain the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviours to become team members. Training sessions, online lessons, team meet and greets are all examples of team onboarding processes.

Peter Principle

A phenomenon first observed by Laurence J. Peter.

He noticed that individuals in hierarches rise to their 'level of incompetence.'

Employees are promoted based on their success in a past role or job until they reach a level at which they're no longer competent as the skills in one job don't always translate to another.

Retention Strategy

When you hire an employee, the ultimate goal is to keep them around; this is called retention.

Retention strategies are plans and tactics companies use to reduce employee turnover (the rate at which employees leave an organization) and keep employees around for the long-term. retention strategies should align with business goals to ensure the maximum return on investment of a new hire. 

Like a Rubick’s Cube, you won’t find success in management if you only focus on one side. Instead, you need to tackle an all-encompassing strategy to your management approach. 

Using these terms to help you understand various aspects of management is an excellent start to fully understanding your new position and will help you find success as you take on the new year.

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