According to Mintzberg, management 'roles' OK! (part 1 of 2)

As a manager, you continue with traits synonymous with the way you’ve been guided or experienced through your career path. This article is in two parts, expanding your knowledge base by exploring Mintzberg’s 10 Management Roles and how you can recognise them. Here’s part one…

How often do you find yourself having to get involved with negotiations, compiling budgets, sorting out disputes, acting as the go-to person and attending meetings? In each circumstance, you take up a spinning top with a myriad of different roles along its edge and have to deal with whichever side it falls on in that spin!

Henry Mintzberg acknowledged this and diagnosed that there are 10 roles played by the manager and these are then sub-divided into three categories and then published them in his 1989 book “Inside our Strange World of Organizations”.

In this feature, we will look at the introduction and then the ‘interpersonal’ elements.

In Summary, these roles are:

(1)  Figurehead           (5)  Monitor                        (9)   Resource Allocator

(2)  Leader                 (6)  Spokesperson               (10) Negotiator

(3)  Liaison                 (7)  Entrepreneur

(4)  Monitor                (8)  Disturbance Handler

And they are categorised:


        Figurehead                 Monitor                       Entrepreneur

        Leader                       Disseminator               Disturbance Handler

        Liaison                       Spokesperson             Resource Allocator


As I worked my way up through the dizzy heights of the corporate arena, I realised I was attempting to move into new roles yet still have an input in each of the preceding ones which put a lot of stress and unnecessary pressure onto my already burdened shoulders, let alone what others may have thought that stepped into my previous shoes!

With regards the above roles, had I had better support or mentoring/coaching, I know I would have been a much better manager not just for the organisation or my teams, but for myself too. Each area is a subject in its own right but as an overview. Here’s a checklist of things to consider for your own self-development even in areas you knowingly or unknowingly avoid.

Establish in a day/week/month where you spend most of your management time. Then rank yourself against each of the above 10 from ‘not skilled’ to ‘well skilled’

Applying the model

You can use Mintzberg's 10 Management Roles model as a frame of reference when you're thinking about developing your own skills and knowledge (this includes developing yourself in areas that you consciously or unconsciously shy away from).

First, examine how much time you currently spend on each managerial role. Do you spend most of your day leading? Managing conflict? Disseminating information? This will help you decide which areas to work on first.

Next, get a piece of paper and write out all ten roles. Score yourself from 1-5 on each one, with 1 being 'very skilled' to 5 being 'not skilled at all'. Then hone in on the areas where you can make improvements.

Interpersonal (to provide ideas and facts)

Figurehead (1) – People look to you as a person with authority and one to inspire greatness. Consider areas such as your image, reputation and how you behave as others will follow by example. It’s best to stand clear of being overly sympathetic but show empathy. Consider ways to be a good role model as others look to you for inspiration.

Leader (2) – As well as a business leader, you are a team leader too. You need to look after individual’s responsibilities and the performance of the group. To get the best from your team, you need to be trustworthy and consider giving feedback, making time for your team, don’t be too 'hand off'. but equally, refrain from micro-management. Define goals, motivate, walk the talk (lead by example), delegate and read up on emotional intelligence.

Liaison (3) – Liaising with internal staff is as important as external contacts. Look to network with peers, likeminded companies and business in general. Networking is an art and there are plenty of courses and events where you can practice and hone your skill and develop communication at all levels.

Whether managing events at home, work or in social circles/events, hopefully the above will give you a platform to work from and look out for the next feature in two weeks time where will look at the remaining seven roles in their two categories.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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