The Noble Calling: What It Means To Be A Successful Manager

Written by James O. Rodgers

successful manager

Managers are perhaps the least appreciated people in an organization. They work behind the scenes, like cameramen on a movie set. For all the hard work the cameramen put into getting the perfect shots, it is the director who gets all the fame and credit. Similarly, no matter how hard a manager works to bring out the best in people, it is the leaders interviewed in the glossy magazines.

This is why no one wants to be a manager these days. Instead, managers treat the role like a necessary evil: one has to pay his or her dues in management before moving up to the “big leagues” of executive leadership.

But management is a noble calling — maybe even the noblest role in any organization. And it carries an enormous influence on the company overall. Management can be the difference between an organization’s success and failure.

What Makes Management Noble?

The manager’s first and foremost concern is people. No role has a more direct effect on employee performance than the manager. A successful manager builds intimate relationships with each employee, and works to bring the best performances out of every member under his or her supervision.

Management is noble because it is selfless; great managers want to act as catalysts that unleash others’ talents. They want to see their staff achieve beyond their own expectations.


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Many workers, however, are only in management roles as they chase leadership positions. But great managers are not concerned with being seen or promoted. Instead, they focus their energy on making the people they manage into successful, high-achieving employees.

The Manager’s Main Concern? People

Too often, managers are made to feel that managing is their secondary responsibility — not their real job. This, I think, may be why people only experience great managers 1.2 times in their entire career span, according to my unscientific estimates.

We need to revive management and refocus it on people instead of ladder-climbing. What will it take to make this happen? I think our current system will inevitably lead to a management revival. We’re focused too heavily on leadership right now; as this system leads to failure after failure, more people will realize that leaders need great managers who can focus on the people who work to achieve the big picture vision.