I went to the Manager Tools website and took a look at their podcast categories and culled out some that illustrate a fair amount of what it involves.
HR (and all that that entails)
- Staffing / Hiring / Interviews / Recruiters
- Termination / Layoffs
- Employee Behavior
- One on Ones /Feedback
- Employee Performance
- Company Strategy
Any one of these areas grows with headcount, as the number of communication channels increases. Some of the tasks are emotionally draining, while others take their toll physically.
Yet, I remember when I thought managers did not do anything but drink coffee and loaf around. So when somebody asks me what I do I say "Wander around and wave my arms, hoping it makes a difference." I suppose it diminishes the work somewhat, but the only other option is to try and laundry-list it all and nobody wants to hear about that.