What is a Successful Manager?

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What is a Successful Manager?
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
When can a person reasonably be considered a successful manager?
From the company's point of view, it is a matter of performance management and KPIs. And there are countless articles on skills / traits managers should have.

But when is a person successful as a manager from his/her own, personal perspective? The answer depends perhaps on what is driving that person; what are his/her goals, values, needs, preferences, and identity.

We might use Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to illustrate the above.
For example, to some people success can be defined in FINANCIAL terms. A large salary and/or considerable savings provide safety, comfort and status.
For others, their professional achievements or standing/STATUS is most important. Are you a junior, senior, team, general or group manager?
And for others their PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT or self-actualization is what matters most.
While to some, the CONTRIBUTION they make (to their family, organization they work in, country, or humanity in general) is most important.

See also Drivers and Levers of Employees.

Note that above categories and measures of success are not mutually exclusive and can be combined. Even if in reality they sometimes (seem to) conflict with each other.

⇒ When are YOU successful as a manager? Take some time to think it over. You are the only one who can give the answer.

A Simple Way to Rate if You are a Successful Manager
Javier Elenes, Business Consultant, Mexico, Member
Rate the contribution you made to results. That means created value (Market Value and Economic Value) to the business unit that you manage in GREEN, YELLOW, RED:
Mark with GREEN if your results are ABOVE the media of the industry.
Mark with YELLOW if your results are IN de media of the industry.
And mark RED if your results are BELOW the media of the industry.

ONLY GREEN managers are sucessful managers.
The YELLOW managers are mediocre managers.
The RED managers are incompetent managers.

What a Successful Manager is
eduardo oliva, Professor, Mexico, Member
A successful manager would be an individual who consistently achieves his/her company's objectives, in a wide variety of situations, and within a well defined social, economic and technological environment, while preserving (or enlarging) the company's assets.
A universally and eternally successful manager could not possibly be a human being.

Successful Manager/Leader
Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
I realize success through a PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL RELIEF upon completion or reaching a milestone throughout the execution of duties or accomplishments.
I generally look at Maslow's hierarchy as a perspective theory that I invert. When the pyramid is inverted, I see my responsibilities as I look up versus the traditional looking down. I have problems with the concept of hierarchical management & leadership in a time when the new generation of workers are seeking a more collegial work setting. As such, I have been promoting a more horizontal (flat) than vertical managerial/leadership engaging style of management.

2 Aspects of a Successful Manager
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
Success can be defined as achievement of A STATE OF BEING WITH 2 ASPECTS in a personality.
For example, effective teaching cannot happen unless and until the teacher develops both the learning aspect and the teaching aspect in him.
Similarly, a successful manager is a well developed state of two aspects in the same personality. These states are:
1. The limited consciousness of being is merged with a universal consciousness (unified field).
2. A state of mind which is relentlessly and ever ready in pursuit of success.
The degree of development of these two sides of personality is the measure of success of an individual who manages an enterprise. It becomes the foundation wherein all skills, traits, financial gains are achieved.

Success - Value Driven Managerial Actions
Sridhar Gopal, Management Consultant, India, Member
Interesting question. In my terms success is when your "thoughts meet your actions at the same point". In other words when thoughts meet reality. For a manager success can be either managerial or personal or both.
Say a new HR manager is brought in with a task on hand to bring down a high rate of attrition in the company. He may be successful in slowing down the employee exit with a “carrot and a stick” approach, by doing this the management may find the manager “successful”.
On the other hand, when the manager understands the reasons for attrition through deliberations with the employees and prepares a total solution package and agrees with the upper management for a win - win solution and brings both the employees and the upper management at a point of congruence of acceptance, I find professional goals and personal values meet at a common point. And this I would term this as a “managerial success”.

Criteria for a Successful Manager
MUNI DAVE, Business Consultant, India, Member
I measure the success of a manager on following criteria:
  • Gives good performance, a little above target, most of the time. When below target, has adequate / objective justification.
  • Is a good trainer. Develops juniors in all aspects - technical, system, attitudes, emotions, etc.
  • Delegates many routine activities, remains a little underloaded.
  • When a junior comes for a solution, motivates to find a better solution, instead of giving a quick decision.
  • Takes ownership of departmental failures and gives credit of success to juniors.
  • When s/he remains absent, department works smoothly.
  • Ready to accept new responsibilities, challenging work.
  • Doesn't link salary with performance.
  • Maintains transparency.
  • Is respected by other functions as well.

The Good Manger
MARZOUK, Student (MBA), Morocco, Member
The good manager who succeeds, far from the financial considerations and KPIs is the one who ensures the succession by transmitting his know-how and experience.

What a Successful Manager Is.
Anthony, Manager, Nigeria, Member
A successful manager is conceptualized as one who is able and capable of utilizing the various roles of management effectively without any intermittency, ensuring that the organization attains maximum improvement with respect to productivity and customer focus and welfare inclusive as a result of how the employees or subordinates perform the task assigned to them.
In other words, a successful manager is one who is able to ensure effective communication in the organization and encourage cohesiveness among the employees by adopting the behavioral and human relation theory of management.

What is a Successful Manager?
AQEEL RAZA, Accountant, Pakistan, Member
The term “Manager” refers to the person managing the work of some given task which could help achieve the objectives of the company. The objectives of any company are to earn income and the process of earning income involves different social sciences that have to understand the minds of peoples, visible and non-visible things.
A manager who is assigned to some work should be delegated the authority of doing things according to his ability. The authority will automatically create the responsibility.
The successful manager must have authority and responsibility to complete the given tasks.

Asuccessful Manager
nabil abed alrahman, HR Consultant, Palestine, State of, Member
A successful manager is one who can gain the confidence of others and enhance their confidence in themselves and then lead them to the goals.

A Good Manager Brings 'Human Value'
Monchal, Project Manager, France, Member
Interesting topic and contributions thank you very much.
I would say that a good manager is a person who helps his team to grow, I mean in term of hard and soft skills as well as in term of motivation and commitment.
He helps also all people he works with to grow up, as well colleagues, suppliers and customers, and even his own boss as far as possible. He contributes as much as possible in order to help all these people and organizations provide more value to the customers but also to the society.
As the Maslow pyramid shows, different people have different views about what "value" means, but the more mature the person is, the larger view of value he will understand, and he will try to deliver what is expected by each one, which can be different from one person to another.
Not so easy to do, isn't it?
Try to be be humble, learn from others, work on oneself to upgrade your soft skills and knowledge of yourself, and be "benevolent" (= bienveillant en Français)!

Traits of a Successful Manager
OSHUN, GRACE OKAIMA , Lecturer, Nigeria, Member
A successful manager would be one who possesses leadership qualities. The workforce should be able to look up to him as a guide, a motivator and mentor. He should possess good people skills. He must be a team player who is ready to take responsibility for the decisions of the group, especially if the outcome is unfavourable. He should consciously put a succession plan in place so no vacuum will be created by his exit.

A Successful Manager's Definition of Success is Rooted in her/his Values
Daniel Schneider, Business Consultant, United States, Member
Having studied people and motivation for most of my life, I always enjoy reading about what's new. When I first entered the workforce in 1971, people (mostly my chronological peers) were talking about the need for a more collegial and collaborative working environment (now called culture). What I find most fascinating is that words change frequently; however, behavior still seems deeply rooted in human genetics and human nature doesn't seem to have changed a great deal over several millennia of human existence.
So, I would believe that a successful manager/leader is someone whose definition of success is deeply rooted in her/his personal values, regardless of where they fall on Maslow's hierarchy. As a result of acting on those values, the successful person - even if only a self-manager/leader - is consistently true to self.

The Succesful Manager Feeds the People
Aurore, Manager, Haiti, Member
I'm working as a Dean of a university in Haiti. Following my thesis in education science, I implemented an innovative master's program for teachers with experiences and without diplomas. Through all constraints I motivated the students, communicated with them, negotiated the best financial conditions, led them towards their goals, and also did my best to develop the program based on their needs by choosing the pertinent classes and appropriate schedule and by evaluating them regularly; also recruited among the best teachers and added a team manager when it became necessary. The keys of my engagement were: empathy and caring for people and collaborators. I believe that these are the characteristics of a successful manager.

Being a Successful Manager
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
What it means to be a successful managers depends on whether you wish to be assessed as “successful” by others or by yourself.
Your external assessment by others is most likely to be based on your “success” in achieving delegated objectives by getting things done by subordinates and by being seen to conform to the controls of your line senior and the organisation’s norms.
Internal assessment of success (self-actualisation?) will be based in how well you achieved the delegated objectives, through and with other people, while enabling their personal motivations to be achieved and despite organisational systems weaknesses and resource shortfalls.

2 Perspectives on What is a Successful Manager
Lisa, Manager, Kenya, Member
Having gone through the above reactions, I am a persuaded that there are 2 perceptions or perspectives of what makes a successful manager:
  • INTERNAL: The Maslow hierarchy of needs could be a good model of the internal drives or desires that one believes if achieved, then such an individual would be considered successful. These are purely internal generated desires and thirst to succeed which are personal in nature.
  • EXTERNAL: This is the perception of the environment (could be the team that you lead, the entire organization, or even the society). External indicators of a successful manager are for instance a motivated charged team that is cohesive in executing their duties.This could yield high results that would eventually add success to both the manager and the organization at large. In this view the organization sees you as an asset, your team views you as a role model, a mentor, a brother's keeper and a developer of others, a motivated charged team; this is success from an external viewpoint.

The Successful Manager
g nyamudandara, Zimbabwe, Member
Understands the capabilities of employees and utilizes them wisely. A successful manager knows the right tools of trade for effective production and delivers. Targets are evaluated and has a personality that can be emulated. He lets subordinates fly in their creativity and innovation. A team is not a team when you do not give a damn about each other. A cohesive team is the opium to good communication, production and group unity. The understanding of the macro and micro environment by the manager also determines his/her success. An organisation with a successful manager is not isolated and is well-informed of the new competitors and current trends, Understands the new methods and structures as well. Success sometimes is person driven and this needs a manager who is self driven and has the drive. While subordinates need to be coordinated, there is no need to create mechanical systems that will inhibit and clip the subordinate's ingenuity. A well-organized company supports its managers.

The Successful Manager/Leader Appreciates, Trusts and Empowers Employees
Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
I agree with our member from Zimbabwe. The trust and empowerment of those we manage is critical to success. The Maslow theory does not specifically point to traits such as trust and empowerment or development of persons on ones team or organization, but it can be implied, with a little progressive thought.
See, nearly all systems toward success are HUMAN systems of application. We should be adding people we believe will add value to the effectiveness of our organizations. It shouldn't matter if it is another executive or the person that sweeps the floor. We want members of our organization that add value versus take value away.
While I use Maslow's theory in an inverted manner, it is a launch point to the discussion of inclusion and the value of ALL members of the organization. See, we base all of our interventions for Managers and person in Leadership positions, on the important asset of "Integrated Thinking" at the top level. Appreciation of the entire organization is a must.

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