Ten Truths of Managers

The following passage is from my first attempt at writing a book based on lessons learned and taught, and my experience in managing a diverse group on employees. Feedback welcome!


I am sure that everyone has their own set of 10 or 20 truths about management. It is not about the experience that we all think is important. It is about the depth of that experience that makes the difference between OK, good and GREAT. It also has to be the best experience possible. That includes both good and bad so that you know the difference.

My truths are not found in a text book or taught in schools of business. My truths come from an awareness of just how much I do not know and still need to learn. Great managers never stop learning and understanding what it means to manage with excellence.

Throughout this book you will see many of the principles and truths overlap. This is because holding the truths steady is often a very complicated process and requires overlapping in order to remain consistent. Great managers never have it easy. There is far too much that poor management will impact and that cannot be changed. The impact of a Poor Manager is just as significant as the impact of a Great Manager. Great managers know this and stay the course, often without much support. Always remember Great Managers are few and far between. It is probably less than 1 or 2 percent of the managers currently in management positions.

Ten Truths of Great Managers

  • Ownership
  • Responsibility
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Common Sense
  • Instinctive Decision Making
  • Other Directed – Servant Management
  • Risk Taking with Purpose
  • Understanding the Importance of Outcomes
  • Strength of Character

The most important aspect of these truths is learning to trust your own instincts before you trust others. So often, in an effort to meet the needs of my bosses or someone else, I would change my mind and not follow my own instincts or truths. I still ask others but I typically will not change my mind.

This will be a challenge because some individuals will attempt to dismantle all of your truths based on their truths. The strength it takes to manage is a journey that challenges the mind, heart and soul. Only those who are committed to this profession, as a way of life, will truly be successful and that is about 5% of the total number who currently have positions in management roles or titles.

Yes, 95% do not really get it and never will. Those who really make it and make it great are very small in numbers but are an extremely important group of individuals who make a difference every day in the lives of the people they touch. These individuals have their own set of truths and that is what sets them apart from all of the others. They trust themselves to make a difference even when it means that decision is the only one not accepted by the majority. To think that great managers are not challenged would be an error in judgment.

We make sure we are challenged. It keeps us in the mix. It forces us to stay alert to the needs of the group and organization. That is why others follow our intentions. They know that our decisions are about the group and organization’s success. We make it easy to understand where we are going and why we are going in that direction. It is just not an easy process to make it clear.

We are different. We are usually fairly complex individuals who may shift our approach at a moment’s notice. Our processes are intentional and deliberate when we are taking actions and we understand how to move from one pinnacle to another without endangering our staff or the organization. It is risk with purpose and others will know it.

We have been successful for a majority of our careers and through that effort have a level of respect that we have earned. We are a very rare group who understands we do not make it happen without the right people supporting us. This includes staff and top management. We also know that we must make changes that may go against all that is taught, believed or followed over the past millennium.

The great managers know what is needed before they start. Everything comes with a calculated risk. There are those who will purposely make attempts to undermine our efforts but we will prevail. Some will simply leave and move to more unsuccessful outcomes. It is easier than doing it the right way. We do it the right way.

We have a tendency to be mavericks but that too is with a purpose in mind. We are meant to shake it up. We care about the people we work with and support the individuals we work for with a passion not measured in society but rather by the awareness that we make a difference every day in the live of those we touch.

There is one very unfortunate but glaring truth that all of this appears to be fading into an automated decision making process that is supported by greed, money and self-absorption. Strength of character is something that has a definitional change based on who is in charge and not what is right.

We are producing MBA’s that leave the university setting with a belief that they can take over the world only because of the type of degree they received in college. Their beliefs may also be based on the university they attended. I am always amazed at the arrogance of where you might have attended. It is not about the school it is about you. Great managers are Great because they understand management before they manage. They truly understand the outcomes needed to be successful. We have corporations placing new graduates in extremely difficult roles with the belief that these new graduates will make it work. They cannot and do not.

This book is not for those who believe they have mastered the art of management. It is really not possible. This book is for those who have a desire to understand how they might become great managers. It may also offer a Great Manager a reminder of what he or she gives to others through their servant management. We need the few to stand and continue the journey toward excellence in the management of others.

Jim received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Human Resource Development and has over 40 years of management experience in 5 different industries. He has consulted for Raytheon, Century 21 and Motorola. He retired in 2005 as the Sr. VP, Human Resources for Trident Health System (an HCA facility). His specialty is talent-based organizational development. Jim has recently accepted a position with Shorter University as the Associate Vice President for Online and Professional Education. Shorter University's primary campus is located in Rome, Georgia. His role will include the strategic management of online programs for the university to include the College of Adult and Professional Programs located in Rome and Atlanta. Dr. Jones is looking forward to helping change the lives of those he touches every day in the pursuit of excellence in adult education. This includes students, faculty and staff.