Why You Should Know Mintzberg's 10 Managerial Roles

Why You Should Know Mintzberg's 10 Managerial Roles

Congrats! You’ve been recently promoted to a managerial position. But what does a manager actually do? Have those thoughts been running in your head? Yes, managers oversee people and projects, but they also set and improve policies and processes. Basically, managers ensure that everything is working smoothly towards the desired goal.

There are many hats a manager wears. Each of these responsibilities requires a slightly different skill set. Henry Mintzberg, a Canadian academic who specializes in business and management, broke down these managerial roles into ten categories to help organizations achieve more efficiency and simplify complex problems.

This blog will explain each one of Henry Mintzberg’s 10 managerial roles and also provide appropriate examples of them in the workplace.

What are Managerial Roles? 

Managerial roles or management roles are the tasks, duties, or responsibilities commonly performed by different levels of managers. These roles don’t change based on the industry, level of management, and authority the manager has.

Benefits of Knowing Managerial Roles

Understanding managerial roles is crucial for several reasons, both for individuals and for organizations as a whole. Here's a breakdown of why it matters:

For Individuals:

  • Professional Growth

  • As an individual, understanding the different managerial roles and responsibilities will help you make the right decision about which professional career path to pursue. Learning Mintzberg’s managerial roles will also give you knowledge about the specific skills and qualities one would need to develop to be promoted into a managerial position.

  • Effective Collaboration

You might be thinking, “I am aiming for a managerial role, so why should I learn about Mintzberg’s managerial roles?” We say that you should and here’s why. A better understanding of what managers do can help you collaborate with them more effectively. You'll be more equipped to anticipate their needs, communicate clearly, and contribute to the team's success as a member.

For Organizations:

  • Improved Efficiency and Productivity
  • As an organization, understanding each of the managerial roles leads to efficient functioning. Just like a sports team, when everyone is playing with the same goal and understanding, the results are evident, it’s the same with organizations. When everyone, from managers to employees, is on the same page, the results are more profitable. There is no confusion as to what needs to be done and where one needs to go if there is an issue. Better communication and smoother workflows lead to increased efficiency and productivity.

  • Talent Management and Development
  • By understanding the skills and qualities needed for different managerial roles, organizations can not only make the correct hires but they can also develop targeted training programs to promote internal talent.

  • Robust Company Culture
  • A culture of collaboration and mutual respect can be achieved by having a clear understanding of managerial roles. Employees know what exactly is expected of them and they’ll feel valued and supported. These factors will improve engagement rates and automatically present a positive work environment.

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3 Classifications of Managerial Roles

In this 1990 book, Mintzberg on Management: Inside our Strange World of Organizations, Henry Mintzberg first classified the managerial roles into three overarching groups. These groups are Interpersonal, Informational, and Decisional.


This typography covers behaviors and responsibilities around interacting with people. The managers are focused on interpersonal communication with employees and other stakeholders. The belief is that strong communication will allow the organization to meet its goals. Managerial roles under the interpersonal classification are leader, figurehead, and liaison.


This role revolves around receiving, creating, processing, and sharing information with everyone. Organizations can meet their objectives because of information and data. Managerial roles under this category are monitor, spokesperson, and disseminator.


This category is about taking action. Decisional managers communicate with people, understand the information given, and make strategic and business decisions. Specific roles under this grouping are entrepreneur, resource-allocator, negotiator, and disturbance-handler.

Managerial Roles


Leader, Figurehead, Liaison


Monitor, Spokesperson, Disseminator


Entrepreneur, Resource-Allocator, Negotiator, Disturbance-Handler

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Mintzberg’s 10 Managerial Roles

A manager is constantly shifting or juggling between tasks and situations. Henry Mintzberg recognized this. He stated that there are ten primary roles or behaviors that can be used to categorize a manager's different functions.

We’ll dive into the definition of each one of Mintzberg’s managerial roles.


As a figurehead, your responsibilities are to represent the company socially, ceremonially, and legally. People also look up to a figurehead as a person of influence, power, and authority.

Example of a figurehead’s responsibilities:

  • Giving stakeholders or investors a company tour
  • Representing and promoting the company at a social industry event like a tradeshow or conference


A leader is responsible for the performance of their team (could be the entire organization also). The focus is on managing the employees in such a manner that all are able to hit their goals. Leaders have to hire, train, influence, and motivate people. They also provide employees with a sense of purpose.

Example of a leader’s responsibilities:

  • Setting a goal for a department and ensuring that the goal is understood by everyone
  • Breaking down the larger goal into appropriate tasks
  • Monitoring performance and providing any required feedback, resources, or support


A liaison is someone who serves as a connection between different parties to make sure everything is running smoothly. Think of the liaison as one that bridges the gap between internal and external stakeholders and resources. They transfer knowledge and information up and down the organization to ensure everyone and everything is operating seamlessly. In some scenarios, a liaison might tap into their network outside the company to ensure a project meets its deadline. 

Here’s how a liaison would operate:

  • Communicating frequently with employees and updating clients on progress
  • Gaining insight on client expectations and relaying that back to the necessary internal teams
  • Coordinating between suppliers, purchasing, and strategic teams


A monitor is someone who finds information from internal and external sources. Information can come through emails, voice messages, newsletters, newspapers, trade reports, and publications. It’s not easy to sort through this as there can be an information overload. Through this information, they try to identify problems and opportunities to capitalize on. Simply put, they are in charge of assessing the current state of affairs and then deciding if the company needs to shift course. All the information they gather needs to be stored, maintained, and filtered for future reference.

Examples of a monitor’s duties:

  • Seeking customer feedback to understand how a product or service can be improved
  • Monitoring industry and competitor trends, statistics, and government regulations to make sure the company is competitive, compliant, and on track to succeed


The disseminator plays a major function in internal communication. They act as the central source for information within the organization, ensuring relevant knowledge reaches those who need it most. Disseminators require excellent communication and listening skills. They also need strong analytical skills to filter through and prioritize information received. Here's a breakdown of their key responsibilities:

Gathering, Filtering, and Sharing of Information:

  • The disseminator actively seeks out information. They need to be proactive in filtering through various sources, both internal (reports, meetings, discussions) and external (industry trends, news, research) to understand which information is critical and needs to be communicated further.
  • Think of disseminators as a central information hub. They filter and select the most relevant and useful data for their team or department.
  • Disseminators have to change their information delivery approach based on the audience and context. For some, they can use meetings, while other information can be shared through emails, reports, internal newsletters, or one-on-one conversations.
  • They bridge information and communication gaps between different departments or teams. They need to ensure everyone is on the same page so they can work collaboratively.

Examples of the disseminator role:

  • Sharing updates on project progress with their team
  • Communicating company-wide decisions or policy changes to impacted teams
  • Sharing industry reports and competitor analysis to relevant departments


The spokesperson's primary focus is on external communication. They are the main representatives of the organization to the outside world. But that doesn’t mean they praise the company on false terms. The spokesperson has to maintain a fine balance between promoting the company and being fair and transparent. For instance, if they are promoting a new product at a press conference, they need to have valid data on how the product helps to back their talk.

It is also the spokesperson’s responsibility to make sure that the company’s progress and position are heard and understood by external stakeholders like partners, investors, clients, board members, stockholders, or even the media. Here's a deeper dive into their responsibilities:

  • The spokesperson serves as the official communicator, relaying information about the organization's goals, activities, achievements, and future plans to various external audiences.
  • This can involve interacting with media, investors, and the general public. Below we give examples of how a spokesperson would communicate with these external parties:
    • Media: Giving interviews, writing press releases, and holding press conferences.
    • Investors: Presenting financial results, explaining strategies, and responding to questions.
    • The public: Participating in public forums, speaking at conferences, and engaging with communities.
  • The spokesperson also plays an important role in shaping and protecting the organization's public image. For example, if there is a public relations crisis, the spokesperson would be in charge of talking to the impacted parties. A real-life example of this would be how Air India's CEO addressed the issue of crew not being trained to handle unruly passengers. He acknowledged the challenges and addressed the concerns openly.

Here are a few tips that help a spokesperson represent the organization favorably:

  1. Study the audience demographic so the messaging, tone, and style of communication can be tailored.
  2. Use simple language and refrain from industry jargon or too many technical terms.
  3. Seek real-time feedback.
  4. Work on your body language. For instance, no slouching, making eye-contact, and appropriate use of hands and gestures.

Examples of the spokesperson framework of managerial role:

  • Giving interviews about the company's new product launch.
  • Issuing a statement on behalf of the organization regarding a controversial issue.
  • Presenting the organization's social work or community outreach efforts to local residents.


This role is about developing and implementing new ideas or strategies. Many also associate it with driving change and innovation. Entrepreneurs aren’t afraid of thinking outside the box and creating conditions for change that will allow the company to stay competitive. They also encourage others to think creatively and adapt to change.

The entrepreneur understands that uncertainty is inevitable and therefore one must be prepared to adapt to the changing circumstances. They are willing to take calculated risks and accept failures as those setbacks can lead to higher success later.

An entrepreneur also requires strong change management skills. To help with this, it’s helpful to have:

1) a written change management plan,
2) clear goals for change, and
3) a communication plan that will tell employees/stakeholders how and if the change will impact them.

Examples of the entrepreneurial trait:

  • Decides to use social media to increase sales.
  • Reorganizing an underperforming department
  • Merging with or acquiring another business
  • Launching new products or processes

Disturbance Handler

Maintaining stability and navigating unexpected challenges is the main focus of the disturbance handler profile. They are like the first line of defense called to manage the situation when an emergency arises. The key responsibilities are responding to conflict, monitoring internal and external disruptions, problem-solving and allocating resources as part of corrective action.

Conflicts that a disturbance handler could be made to resolve range from a client breaching a contract to an important employee leaving. It’s a stressful and demanding role as one often has to make decisions under extreme pressure and in a time-sensitive scenario.

Examples of the disturbance handler role:

  • Intervening to resolve a conflict between two employees.
  • Leading the IT response to a system outage and restoring critical services
  • Addressing a crisis situation caused by a negative media report

Resource Allocator

A resource allocator is in charge of finding, allocating, and tracking resources. They determine where the resources are best applied to the organization’s goals and priorities. They also are responsible for balancing the needs of different departments or projects and assigning resources to strategic and billable tasks first.

A resource allocator needs to be analytical, resourceful, and a good communicator. They also require a strong financial acumen to understand the financial impact of using certain resources, or what happens when certain employees are under or over-utilized.

Example of the resource allocator framework:

  • Dividing resources between the departments of his organization based on their current and future needs.
  • Tracking resource utilization to make sure employees are not overburdened, nor are they sitting idle.
  • Reassigning resources based on changing priorities.


Negotiators are like skilled diplomats, navigating complex conversations and finding common ground to reach win-win situations. They are responsible for securing favorable outcomes for their team or organization through the art of deal-making. They represent the organization and act as advocates, often championing the company’s interests in conversations with clients, suppliers, partners, or other stakeholders.

They also facilitate internal negotiations, such as mediating conflicts between departments or resolving resource allocation and/or budget issues. A key skill of a negotiator is to be able to build a rapport with everyone so they can understand different perspectives and propose a solution that is acceptable to the majority.

Examples of a negotiator are:

  • Negotiating a contract with a new client.
  • Reaching an agreement on budget and timeline with stakeholders.
  • Bargaining for better benefits for employees.
  • Mediating a conflict between team members over project tasks.

To be a good negotiator, keep the following in mind:

  1. Negotiation happens between people, not with organizations or departments. 
  2. Don’t look at the opposing party as an enemy. The idea shouldn’t be the mindset that the winner takes all. Try and also help the other party get what they need and want.
  3. Negotiating is not the same as begging. Work to reach an agreement that is fair to all involved.

Mintzberg’s 10 Management Roles highlight the complexities a manager faces, no matter what level of manager they are or how many years of experience they have. It’s a holistic framework that highlights all the areas a manager would need.

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How to Use 10 Managerial Roles in the Workplace

As much as it would be great, no manager can excel in all ten roles. Use Mintzberg's model as a frame of reference when you want to develop your management skills. Prioritize the roles that you fulfill most often.

Tips one can use to apply Mintzberg's managerial role in their work environment.

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Take some time to assess your strengths and weaknesses to determine which roles you naturally excel at and which ones you may need to work on.
  • Adapt your approach to the situation: The specific roles you need to focus on will vary depending on the situation. For example, in times of crisis, the disturbance handler role will likely take precedence over the figurehead role.
  • Seek feedback: Ask your team members and colleagues for feedback on your performance in each of the 10 roles. This feedback can help you identify areas for improvement.
  • Continuously develop your skills: Change is the only constant and there are always new things to learn even when it comes to being a manager. For instance, techniques that worked in the industrial era aren’t applicable today. Thus it’s important to hone your skills and participate in training and development opportunities.

By learning about Mintzberg's managerial roles and applying them when and where you can, you will become a more well-rounded and successful leader and manager. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to management. You also might not be able to or be required to do all ten roles in your job — that’s completely okay.

The key is to be flexible and adaptable and to focus on the parts that are crucial in your specific situation and job.

eRS, a cloud-based resource management app, can make you a better, more efficient manager. The platform provides real-time data and information on resource availability and utilization, project budget and progress, and budget. This information can enhance your resource allocation, communication, and problem-solving skills. To learn how else eRS can aid your company, reach out to our team today.

CEO & Founder
Rudraksh Vyas
Rudraksh Vyas, an accomplished CEO at ENBRAUN since 2011, has a proven track record in leading and growing technology-driven businesses. His expertise lies in product development, client management, and implementing effective business strategies, ensuring robust financial and resource management. Prior to his current role, Rudraksh honed his skills in business development, where he excelled in account management and export marketing. He holds a PMP certification from the Project Management Institute and an MBA in International Business from the University of Technology Sydney. Rudraksh's journey reflects a deep commitment to excellence and innovation in the tech industry, making him a respected leader and visionary in his field.

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