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It is important to recognize that no single manager can be all things to all people at once. Good management requires assessing which role is appropriate when and determining if new talent is required to complement a skill set.
Management is incorporated into every aspect of an organization and involves different roles and responsibilities. Henry Mintzberg (1973), the Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at McGill University, defined ten management roles within three categories: interpersonal, informational, and decisional.
Each of the three categories embraces the different roles.
Figurehead: symbolic head; performs a number of routine duties of a legal or social nature.
Leader: motivates and activates subordinates; performs staffing, training, and associated duties.
Liaison: maintains a self-developed network of outside contacts and informers who provide favors and information.
Mentor: seeks and receives a wide variety of special information (much of it current) to develop a thorough understanding of the organization and environment; emerges as the nerve center of internal and external information for the organization.
Disseminator: transmits information received from outsiders or from other subordinates to members of the organization. Some information is factual; some involves interpretation and integration of diversevalue positions of organizational influences. Disseminating what is of value, and how, is a critical informational role.
Spokesman: transmits information (plans, policies, results, etc.) within and outside of the organization; serves as an expert on the organization's industry.
Entrepreneur: searches the organization and its environment and initiates improvement projects to bring about change; supervises design of certain projects as well.
Disturbance Handler: takes corrective action when the organization faces important, unexpected disturbances.
Resource Allocator: allocates the organization's resources; makes or approves of all significant organizational decisions.
Negotiator: represents the organization at major negotiations.
A manager's job is never static; it is always dynamic. At any given time, a manager may carry out some combination of these roles to varying degrees, from none of the time to 100 percent of the time. Throughout an individual's working life, a person may hold various management positions that call upon different roles.
No one person can be all things to all people. While these ten roles are highly useful in framing organizational leadership, to expect one person to fill each role in a large organization is impractical. Instead, astute hiring managers will hire people with one or two specific roles in mind, thereby creating a team of managers capable of handling the wide variety of challenges in the business world today.