According to Mintzberg, Management ‘Roles’, OK! (Part 1 of 2)


How often do you find yourself involved with negotiations, compiling budgets, adjudicating disputes, acting as the go-to person and attending meetings? In each circumstance, you take up a spinning plate 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 which are then sub-divided into 3 categories, publishing them in his 1989’s 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 & Negotiator

As I worked my way up through the corporate arena, I realised I was attempting to move into new roles while still having an input in each of the preceding ones. This put a lot of stress and unnecessary pressure onto my already burdened shoulders!

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

Applying the Model

You can use Mintzberg’s 10 Management Roles model as a frame of reference when 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.


Figurehead(1) – People look to you as a person with authority and for inspiration. 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.

Leader(2) –As well as a business leader, you are a team leader too, looking after individual’s responsibilities and group performance. To get the best from your team, a varied skillset is required Make time for your team, don’t be too “Hands-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 and likeminded companies. Networking is an acquired art. There are plenty of courses and events where you can practice and develop communication skills at all levels.

Look out for the next feature in two weeks’ time where will look at the remaining 7 roles in their 2 categorise.

Should you be looking to improve management skills for either yourself or those within the organisation, please contact the author, Neil Nutburn on 07761 187238 or email and if you’re online, have a look at his interview video at where you’ll be assured a warm welcome to discuss how we can help.