What Are the Interpersonal Roles of a Manager?

Four Ls describe the interpersonal roles you'll need as a manager to get ahead.
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As you work your way up the corporate ladder, stepping into management positions means not only getting work done yourself, but also helping others to do so. Being in the know about the four "Ls" of management interpersonal roles will help you better prepare for them, making the transition to being a manager easier and the success you have as one even greater.

Leader Role

    As the head of a department or division, managers take on the interpersonal role of directly leading the people underneath them. This involves being in charge of some ceremonial duties, such as leading meetings or presenting awards. It also includes staffing duties, such as making sure the department is adequately staffed, and interviewing candidates and hiring new employees. You’ll also train new employees on their duties and company policies as well as train existing employees taking on new or additional duties. This ensures that everyone knows how to do their jobs well. Along the way, you’ll motivate others by encouraging them individually and facilitating ways for them to build or rebuild trust as a group.

Listener Role

    Managers often find themselves in the listener role. Taking time to listen to the suggestions and concerns of those you manage helps facilitate your relationship with them as well as helps them build relationships with one another. To be a successful listener, listen with empathy but also with boundaries. Encouraging your subordinates to communicate directly with one another, rather than escalating things to you, helps them solve their problems and builds trust between team members.

Linchpin Role

    In the course of leading projects for a department, a manager serves as the project’s hub for information and coordination. In such a linchpin role, you’ll keep communication lines open between all the stakeholders for a project, both within the department and with stakeholders in other departments. You’ll carry and monitor information from many sources, disseminating info as needed to keep the project -- and those involved in it -- on track.

Liaison Role

    One of the biggest interpersonal roles a manager plays involves being the main point of contact for your group or department. You’ll be the key person who builds relationships with department representatives, vendors and clients. This means representing your department in meetings, but it also means reaching out to others individually, greeting visiting clients or taking them on tours of the facilities or out to dinner. You’ll put your fabulous communication and relationship management skills to work in this important interpersonal role.

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