Are managers made or born?

Sep 22 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The goal of many office workers is to make it to the halls of management. But is this really the end to all their troubles?

As a new manager you can be justifiably thrilled at your promotion. However, for the unwary your challenge is just about to start. You will have to contend with your staff, company politics, envy, feelings of isolation and pressure from above, below and often from home.

Your technical skills and expertise may have got you the job, but they won't keep you in it. You might even wish you had never taken the management step. Sure, the money is nice, but you can be made to pay for it.

Managing people is tough. You will seldom get a "thank you" for being fair and reasonable and at least one person will feel your job should have been theirs. Don't expect to start with a clean slate either; your welcome mat will include your predecessor's perceived sins.

If you expect management colleagues to be on your side, you will be disappointed. They have one eye to the rung above and can be ruthless in ensuring that their foot reaches it first. Company politics is both a sea of opportunity and ruin, so learn to navigate the waters quickly.

It is said to be lonely at the top. Well, it is not exactly friendly on the way up. Advice is seldom given without self-interest. Yes, management is a tough business, yet flourishing is relatively easy if you know how.

Is flourishing as a manager a matter of training or innate talent? What tips would you give to new managers?

Older Comments

I'd agree with what Dan Bobinski has said here. Good managers need to understand people, set good boundaries and see and communicate the big picture.

Good emotional intelligence â€' the ability to understand oneself and respond appropriately as the situation calls for â€' is also a better indicator of managerial success than IQ.

If you want to be a manager of people, you need to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of individuals within a work team and assign people tasks for optimal efficiency.

Steve Hunt

When I was a manger starting out I learned that the best way to learn was to watch, listen, absorb then ask questions. Part of my development was learning when to ask questions. There is a time for every thing and it may not be the time that was the most convenient to me.

Every problem that is brought to me is the number one obstacle to the person presenting it. I always try to give a time table of when I will respond, and then I meet that obligation. This was what I found built trust between myself and my staff. Though the issue brought to me; I might feel had a very easy solution. It may be the first time that person has encountered a situation like that. If people are asking questions then they still care. When they stop asking questions it is because they think you don’t care.

My career path may not have been the quickest way “up the ladder”, but I can look back and know that I am proud of all decisions that I made that affected me or my staff. Yes some of theses decisions may not have been enjoyed by all involved, but I know that the decisions made were what was right for the business, what was fair, and what was ethical. Where these decisions easy? No, if they were anyone could manage people and we would not have discussions like this.

One of the best guide lines was given to me by my father. “If you wouldn’t want the decision you made to be seen by you mother on the news, then you’re making the wrong decision.” Though very simple it made it very easy not to sacrifice my integrity. Once you lose your integrity in your staffs’ eyes you will never regain it.

Mark Collins Nashville TN

In my experience as an employee, a manager and now as a coach, I find that a big indicator of success as a manager is their level of confidence.

Examples I come across all the time include: - managers feeling threatened by talented team members - overdelegating without providing the necessary support (don't feel can do the job themselves) - underdelegating because they feel the need to prove themselves - giving too much information with a view to being popular - withholding information because they believe knowledge is power

When somebody has true inner confidence they know what they are contributing because they are sure of their purpose and they have self-belief.

They are open to learning and are less likely to create or perpetuate a blame culture.

They are assertive, rather than aggressive or being wishy washy and not able to make decisions.

They are clear on their priorities and help to hold the team to doing the right things.

Too many times, people are 'trained' in management skills but never put them into practice because they lack this inner confidence...

Don't be fooled by an exterior appearance of confidence - I'm constantly amazed at those who approach me for help. People don't have that certainty, that self-belief or fullfilment on the inside...

If you are a new manager, my advice would be to recognise that you have already been given the job - don't feel you have to prove yourself all over again. Focus on continuing your personal journey and helping your team to do the same. That way, the results you desire will flow.

Good luck!

Una Doyle - The Confidence Coach

Una Doyle - The Confidence Coach Leeds, UK

Are managers only restricted to the official work they perform or how the tend to enhance thier management degree? Don't you think it's necessary to manage many other things than that? There are manythings more than mere a manager post, that includes planning,grooming & most importantly personal assertion i.e the qualities that a person posseses from his growing period and which cannot be instilled in the person till he's not able to shape it i.e till he's not a good manager.

Mohammed Ali India

managers are made


Are managers made or born? Send the clear information about this immediately. This is urgent.

Ajit Mumbai

please help me,'are managers made or born?' and 'some individuals fear to be delegated authorit for reasons best known to themselves which are these reasons?

Lawrence Tanzania

Managers are made by their experience and continuel development of theirselves. They always improve their selves by listening, by watching around and absorbing the things as well as knowledge. I had taken six years to be the manager in my life starting the job from the post of operator. Now I am here for further study and to gain management knowledge.

Pankaj Patel ( Rafi ) London (UK)

management is a process tht needed to b experienced through practical knowledge.understanding it,learning it,improving on it......... so manager r never born they a made through life exp

ojha narayan mumbai

managers are made not born b'coz, as we know 'practice makes a man perfect'like wise .no one in this world is born one practice is most necessary .without practice or proper knowledge one cannot excel in his they are made not born.

prakash mohanty

Managers are both born and made:

Born Manager have a God given spiritual gift of administration and leadership and this is explained in the bible. Like any other spiritual gift there is a need to develop,practice and apply principles learnt academically or otherwise. In other words a spiritual gift needs to be further developed for it to fully manifest.

Made Managers are those who follow structured training methodologies to groom them into management positions. They may not necessarily posses the passion for management and such managers may easily get disoriented when things go wrong

Paul Keta

In my personal opinion. Managers are born and made. A person is actually born with a potential ,whose intergration with the environment will make his/her potential fine tuned. For instance.Even though not a manager. BANANA ZORRO had the underlying traits of being a musician,and as he grew next to his father who had music instruments . He was interested and so he learnt slowly and suceeded to be one of the best artists alongside his blood sr MAUNDA who is also a musician. Therefore , Managers have an inborn potential and the environment shapes them by learning theories of management.


yes,I'm agree with the sentence that 'managers are born but not made', As we know that a good human being is normally reflected at the time of the birth. I also say that it is in born quality.

Rupesh Singh Bhubaneshwar

In my view manager is made. Nobody is born with perfect made skills. Every person has to work for acquiring skills. Every day manager has to learn new things from the unrealistic world Only experiences can play a role....... As we know "practice makes a man perfect”. No one in this world is born perfectly intelligent. So practice is most necessary. Without a practice or proper knowledge no one can excel in his life. So they (Manger) are made not born.

RAMESHKUMAR Bangalore, India