Roles of Managers-What Managers Do

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Most management textbooks would say is that managers spend their time engaged in planning, organizing, staffing, directing, directing, reporting, and controlling. In the real world, it is far from being that simple. It’s messy and hectic stream of ongoing activity. Management activity studies by  Mintzberg , H, and Kotter, J, P  and others have revealed the following.

Constant action

Managers are in constant action. Thy deal with so many things in short intervals of time and many of those things aren’t related to a particular issue or subject. Many of them are distinct on their own. They switch frequently from task to task , changing their focus of attention  to respond to issues as they arise and engage with many tasks of short durations.

Spend less time with themselves.

Most managers spend their times with others , including subordinates, their bosses, and numerous people outside the organization. They spend 25% of time alone and 70% of their time with others.

Their discussions topics with others is extremely wide with unimportant and important business matters mixed together. Managers rarely make big decisions during these conversations and rarely gives orders in a traditional sense. They often react to others initiatives and spend substantial amounts of time on unplanned activities that are not on their calendars.

They are engaged in 58  different activities with an average duration of just nine minutes.

Interruptions is natural part of the job.

Interruptions are common part o their job. Most managers work uninterrupted for half an hour or so. In fact they spend very little time by themselves. This is contrary to what most management textbooks states. They are rarely alone drawing up plans or worrying about important decisions. Instead, they spend of their time interacting with others-both inside and outside of organizations. If casual interactions in hallways, phone conversations, one-on-one meetings and larger group meetings are included, managers spend about two thirds of their time with other people.

As Mintzberg has pointed out “ unlike workers, the manager does not leave the telephone or the meeting to get back to work. Rather, these contacts are his work”

Nature of management work is conversational

 The interactive nature of management means that most management is work is conversational. When managers are in action, they are talking and listening. Managers spend two thirds of their time in verbal activity.

Verbal conversations are the means by which  managers gather information, stay on top of things, identify problems, negotiate shared meaning, develop plans, put things in motion, give orders, assert authority, develop relationships, and spread gossip. In short they are the manager’s daily practice is all about.

Roles of Managers

Information Role

  • Monitor-Seek and receive information from a variety of sources (web, industry journals, and contacts)
  • Disseminator-Pass information on to others in the organization through memos, e-mails, phone calls, etc
  • Spokesperson-Transmit information to people of outside of  the organization through speeches, interviews and written communication.

Interpersonal Role

  • Figurehead-Perform formal duties like greeting visitors and signing contracts and other legal documents.
  • Leader-Motivate, train, counsel, communicate and direct subordinates.
  • Liaison-Maintain and manage information links inside and outside of organization

Decisional Roles

  • Entrepreneur-Initiate projects that lead to improvements; delegate idea-generation responsibilities and identify best ideas to act on.
  • Disturbance Handler-Take corrective action during conflicts and crisis, resolve disputes among subordinates , manage schedules, and budgets, and sets priorities
  • Resource Allocator-Decide who receives resources, manage schedules and budgets, and set priorities.
  • NegotiatorRepresent a team, department, or organization regarding contracts, union negotiations, etc.

Adapted from Principles of Management by Openstax. Download for free at”