In line with changes in the workplace, today's managers require different characteristics and qualities to succeed compared to the managers of yesteryear.


The world of work is undergoing major developments in both technology and staff dynamics. Hence, a manager who was effective in the past might not be effective today.

Here are the five characteristics of successful managers:

1. Be Technologically Literate

Manager helps his employees with a technology issue

Not to be confused with being a techy. It is not essential for all managers to suddenly become computer engineers. Nonetheless, managers should be aware of the broader technological landscape, and the way it impacts the workplace. This means keeping up to date with e-commerce developments, understanding which collaborative and social technologies are emerging in the market, and what the wider implications of these technologies are.

Managers with a good knowledge of the latest technology will always stay one step ahead of the competition.

2. Believe In The Value Of Collective Minds

Manager helps her team brainstorm

Managers used to rule the roost in organizations and have access to all the necessary data to make decisions. The manager would give orders and the staff had to obey those orders without questioning them. However, modern managers do not hoard information. Rather, they embrace collective intelligence by sharing as much data as possible.

Managers have to ensure that their staff can engage with one another, and with the data they require to do their job, on any device and in any location or time zone. Nowadays, instead of marginalizing staff input, managers depend on staff to help with the decision making.

3. Be A Collaborator, Not A Dictator

Manager talks to a colleague at work

Modern management is focused on eliminating obstacles standing in the way of staff so that they can be successful. This is about more than just people management. It is about motivating and empowering those in your team.

In the past, managers adopted a fear-based approach which was centered on the concept of command and rule. Previously, staff members would work hard to ensure the success of their managers. Nowadays, the managers have to work hard to ensure the success of their staff.

4. Make Your Vulnerability An Asset

Senior manager talks to a colleague

This is part and parcel of being transparent and open. Historically, businesses have been modeled on the military. Obviously, military commanders have to be anything but vulnerable. Notwithstanding, times have moved on and we do not run our businesses like the army anymore.

Indeed, the well-known publication Daring Greatly by Brené Brown points out that vulnerability is a courageous way of standing up and being counted. The book claims that vulnerability is integral to creativity and innovation. Brown believes that, without vulnerability, progress would be next to impossible because people would be too self-conscious to risk failure. Hence, it is not weak to show your vulnerability. In contrast, it is actually a sign of strength—an important characteristic that anyone pursuing a management career should possess.

5. Let Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Manager shows his employee how to do something at work

Historically, it was always okay for a manager to state that they approved of something. The manager would just have to agree to a spending plan and say, "Go ahead." However, in the modern, collaborative workplace, this is not sufficient anymore.

Managers have to do more than simply authorize a funding proposal. They have to be there on the front line, using the same equipment that all the other staff are using. Understandably, it is impossible for the staff to grow and develop unless they are set an appropriate example by their manager.


To be a successful manager in modern times, you must possess these five characteristics. Start being a better leader at work today!


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This post was originally published at an earlier date.