Three of the manager's roles come into play when the manager must engage in interpersonal relationships. The three roles of figurehead, leader, and liaison are each necessary under differing circumstances. Adopting one or another of the three interpersonal roles is made easier by the formal authority the manager obtains from the organization.
The figurehead role is enacted when activity of a ceremonial nature is required within the organization. A baseball manager attending a minor league all-star game, the head chef of a prominent restaurant greeting customers at the door, and the president of a bank congratulating a new group of trainees are all examples of the figurehead role. While the figurehead role is routine, with little serious communication and no important decision making, its importance should not be overlooked. At the interpersonal level, it provides members and non-members alike with a sense of what the organization is about and the type of people the organization recruits.
The second interpersonal role, the leader role, involves the coordination and control of the work of the manager's subordinates. The leader role may be exercised in a direct or an indirect manner. Hiring, training, and motivating may all require direct contact with subordinates. However, establishing expectations regarding work quality, decision-making responsibility, or time commitments to the job are all outcomes of the leader role that are indirectly related to subordinates.
Quite often, managers are required to obtain information or resources outside their authority. The liaison role is enacted when managers make contact with other individuals, who may or may not reside in the organization, in order to complete the work performed by their departments or work units. （An auto assembly plant supervisor may telephone a tire supplier to determine the amount of inventory available for next week; or a college professor may meet with professors in a separate department on campus to obtain information on a prospective doctoral student.） Ultimately, the liaison role enables a manager to develop a network for obtaining external information which can be useful for completing current and future work activities.
Monitor, disseminator, and spokesperson are the three informational roles that a manager may assume. These informational roles are created as a result of enacting the set of interpersonal roles already described. A network of interpersonal contacts with both subordinates and individuals outside the work unit serves to establish the manager as an informational nerve center of the unit, responsible for gathering, receiving, and transmitting information that concerns members of the work unit.
A manager assumes the monitor role by continually scanning the environment for information or activities and events that may identify opportunities or threats to the functioning of the work unit. Much of the manager's gathering of information is achieved through the network of contacts that has been established through the interpersonal roles. （Hearing small talk at a banquet about a competitor's planned marketing program, or daily reading of a business periodical are all examples of the kinds of information gathering involved in the monitor role.）
The information a manager gathers as a monitor must be evaluated and transmitted as appropriate to members of the organization. The transmittal of...