Mind Tools Newsletter 195: Be a Brilliant Boss!
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Contents
10 Management Roles
Emotional Intelligence
Team Charters
A Game for Life
What's Your Reputation?
Action Programs
A Final Note
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Mind Tools Newsletter 195 - June 21, 2011
Be a Brilliant Boss!


Figurehead. Leader. Spokesperson. Entrepreneur. Negotiator. These are just some of the roles that a brilliant boss performs with flair. So how well do you do in each of these areas?

This week's Editors' Choice article focuses on Mintzberg's Management Roles - in it, we look at the 10 roles that you need to play as a manager, and we help you build core skills in each area.

We also have a brand new video on developing Emotional Intelligence, and we show you how to use Team Charters to help your people meet their objectives.

Plus, we have the latest from our member's area, the Career Excellence Club, including a guide on building a great reputation.


Enjoy the newsletter!

James Rachel

James Manktelow and Rachel Thompson
MindTools.com - Essential skills for an excellent career!

Featured Resources at Mind Tools
Mintzberg's Management Roles
Mintzberg's Management Roles
Identifying the Roles Managers Play
All Readers
Learn more about ten key roles you fulfill as a manager, and find out how to improve in each area. All Readers' Skill-Builder
Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence All Readers
EI is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand them, and see how they affect those around you. Learn how to develop emotional intelligence. All Readers' Video
Team Charters
Team Charters
Getting Your Teams Off to a Great Start
All Readers
Find out how to use team charters to set teams off in the right direction, and maximize their eventual success. All Readers' Skill-Builder
  ... And from the Career Excellence Club
A Game Plan for Life
A Game Plan for Life Club Members
This book shows us how we can inspire others by being mentors in all areas of our lives. Find out more about it here. Premium Members' Book Insight
What's Your Reputation?
What's Your Reputation?
Building a Reputation Consistent With Your Career Goals
Club Members
Your reputation can make you or break you. Learn what goes into forming your reputation, and find out what you can do to portray the image you want. All Members' Feature Favorite
Action Programs
Action Programs
Becoming Exceptionally Well Organized
Club Members
Use this tool to stay on top of many simultaneous projects, and manage them in a coordinated, well-organized way. All Members' Skill-Builder
Editors' Choice Article
Mintzberg's Management Roles
Identifying the Roles Managers Play

As a manager, you probably fulfill many different roles every day.

For instance, as well as leading your team, you might find yourself resolving a conflict, negotiating new contracts, representing your department at a board meeting, or approving a request for a new computer system.

Put simply, you're constantly switching roles as tasks, situations, and expectations change.
Mintzberg's Management Roles
Which roles do you play most often?
© iStockphoto/mstay

Management expert and professor, Henry Mintzberg, recognized this. He argued that there are ten primary roles or behaviors that can be used to categorize a manager's different functions. In this article we'll examine these roles, and we'll see how you can use your understanding of them to improve your management skills.

The Roles

Mintzberg published his Ten Management Roles in his book, "Mintzberg on Management: Inside our Strange World of Organizations," in 1990.

The ten roles are:

  1. Figurehead.
  2. Leader.
  3. Liaison.
  4. Monitor.
  5. Disseminator.
  6. Spokesperson.
  7. Entrepreneur.
  8. Disturbance Handler.
  9. Resource Allocator.
  10. Negotiator.
The 10 roles are then divided up into three categories, as follows:

Category Role
Interpersonal Figurehead
Leader
Liaison
Informational Monitor
Disseminator
Spokesperson
Decisional Entrepreneur
Disturbance Handler
Resource Allocator
Negotiator

Let's look at each of the ten roles in greater detail.

Interpersonal Category

The roles in this category involve providing information and ideas.

  1. Figurehead - As a manager, you have social, ceremonial and legal responsibilities. You're expected to be a source of inspiration. People look up to you as a person with authority, and as a figurehead.

  2. Leader - This is where you provide leadership for your team, your department or perhaps your entire organization; and it's where you manage the performance and responsibilities of everyone in the group.

  3. Liaison - Managers must communicate with internal and external contacts. Here, you need to be able to network effectively on behalf of your organization.
Informational Category

The roles in this category involve processing information.

  1. Monitor - In this role, you regularly seek out information related to your organization and industry, looking for relevant changes in the environment. You also monitor your team, in terms of both their productivity, and their well-being.

  2. Disseminator - This is where you communicate potentially useful information to your colleagues and your team.

  3. Spokesperson - Managers represent and speak for their organization. In this role you're responsible for transmitting information about your organization and its goals to the people outside it.
Decisional Category

The roles in this category involve using information.

  1. Entrepreneur - As a manager, you create and control change within the organization. This means solving problems, generating new ideas, and implementing them efficiently.

  2. Disturbance Handler - When an organization or team hits an unexpected roadblock, it's the manager who must take charge. You also need to help mediate disputes when they occur.

  3. Resource Allocator - You'll also need to determine where organizational resources are best applied. This involves allocating funding, as well as assigning staff and other resources to address organizational priorities.

  4. Negotiator - You may be needed to take part in, and direct, important negotiations within your team, department, or organization.
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 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."

Once you've identified your weak areas, use the following resources to start improving your abilities in each role.

Figurehead

Figureheads represent their teams. If you need to improve or build confidence in this area, start with your image, behavior, and reputation (member-only article). Cultivate humility and empathy, learn how to set a good example at work, and think about how to be a good role model (member-only article).

Leader

This is the role you probably spend most of your time fulfilling. To improve here, start by taking our quiz, How Good Are Your Leadership Skills? This will give you a thorough understanding of your current abilities.

Next, learn how to be an authentic leader (member-only article), so your team will respect you. Also, focus on improving your emotional intelligence - this is an important skill for being an effective leader.

Liaison

To improve your liaison skills, work on your professional networking techniques (member-only article). You may also like to take our Bite-Sized Training course on Networking Skills (for Career Excellence Club members).

Monitor

To improve here, learn how to gather information effectively and overcome information overload (member-only articles). Also, use effective reading strategies, so that you can process material quickly and thoroughly, and learn how to keep up-to-date with industry news.

Disseminator

To be a good disseminator you need to know how to share information and outside views effectively, which means that good communication skills are vital.

Learn how to share organizational information with Team Briefings (member-only article). Next, focus on improving your writing skills. You might also want to take our communication skills quiz, to find out where else you can improve.

Spokesperson

To be effective in this role, make sure that you know how to represent your organization at a conference (member-only article). You may also want to read our articles on delivering great presentations and working with the media (member-only articles).

Entrepreneur

To improve here, build on your change management skills, and learn what not to do when implementing change (member-only article) in your organization. You'll also need to work on your problem solving and creativity skills, so that you can come up with new ideas, and implement them successfully.

Disturbance Handler

In this role, you need to excel at conflict resolution and know how to handle team conflict. It's also helpful to be able to manage emotion in your team (member-only article).

Resource Allocator

To improve as a resource allocator, learn how to manage a budget, cut costs, (member-only articles) and prioritize, so that you can make the best use of your resources. You can also use VRIO Analysis (member-only article) to learn how to get the best results from the resources available to you.

Negotiator

Improve your negotiation skills by learning about Win-Win Negotiation and Distributive Bargaining (member-only article). You might also want to read our article on role-playing - this technique can help you prepare for difficult negotiations.


Key Points

Mintzberg's 10 Management Roles model sets out the essential roles that managers play. These are:
  1. Figurehead.
  2. Leader.
  3. Liaison.
  4. Monitor.
  5. Disseminator.
  6. Spokesperson.
  7. Entrepreneur.
  8. Disturbance Handler.
  9. Resource Allocator.
  10. Negotiator.
You can apply Mintzberg's 10 Management Roles model by using it as a frame of reference when you want to develop your management skills. Work on the roles that you fulfill most often as a priority, but remember that you won't necessarily fulfill every role as part of your job.

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A Final Note

It's so important to understand the different roles you play as a manager - neglect this, and you'll find it a challenge to be an effective boss.

Next time, we're showing you how you can use the Inverted-U Model to boost your people's performance and keep them happy - all at the same time!

See you then!

James
James Manktelow

email us
Mind Tools
Essential Skills for an Excellent Career!


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