Roles Performed by Managers

Manager Role

A manager wears many hats. Not only is a manager a team leader, but he or she is also a planner, organizer, cheerleader, coach, problem-solver, and decision-maker — all rolled into one. And these are just a few of a manager’s roles.

In addition, managers’ schedules are usually jam-packed. Whether they’re busy with employee meetings, unexpected problems, or strategy sessions, managers often find little spare time on their calendars. (And that doesn’t even include responding to e-mail!)

Henry Mintzberg describes a set of ten roles that a manager fills. These roles fall into three categories

  • Interpersonal: This role involves human interaction.
  • Informational: This role involves the sharing and analysis of information.
  • Decisional: This role involves decision making.

The following table contains a more in-depth look at each category of roles that help managers carry out all five functions described in “Functions of Managers”.

Mintzberg's Set of Ten Roles






Seek and receive information; scan periodicals and reports; maintain personal contact with stakeholders.



Forward information to organization members via memos, reports, and phone calls.



Transmit information to outsiders via reports, memos, and speeches.



Perform ceremonial and symbolic duties, such as greeting visitors and signing legal documents.



Direct and motivate subordinates; counsel and communicate with subordinates.



Maintain information links both inside and outside organization via mail, phone calls, and meetings.



Initiate improvement projects; identify new ideas and delegate idea responsibility to others.


Disturbance handler

Take corrective action during disputes or crises; resolve conflicts among subordinates; adapt to environments.


Resource allocator

Decide who gets resources; prepare budgets; set schedules and determine priorities.



Represent department during negotiations of union contracts, sales, purchases, and budgets.

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