Professional Managers in China

November 15, 2013 3 mins read
Professional Managers in China

The appearance of the Chinese professional manager is a relatively new phenomenon. The caliber of the field, however, is still uneven—charlatans still mingle amongst true professionals.

The need for improvement has become evident, and the retreat of many professional managers has left the field feeling helpless and somewhat despondent. Since the profession is still in its infancy, it needs protection and support—investors need to give professional managers a wider stage on which to perform. Only when investors and professional managers work together like fish and water—rather than oil and water—will professional managers really be able to show their value. Only when investors and professional managers truly work together—rather than the former simply using the latter—will private business really thrive.

What is a professional manager? Most commonly, they are defined as those who set operations and management as their long-term profession, have a certain professional quality and ability, and grasp the roots of corporate managerial authority. Horizontally, they cover a wide range of fields, such as finance and accounting, production management, technology and professional business. Vertically, they are divided between various levels, like skilled artisans, leadership manager-types (those who can lead a team to complete a certain project), and teacher-types (who need to have a systematic way of thinking). The term “professional manager” then, covers a wide range of positions. All in all, professional managers count on their ability and achievements—not monetary investments—for a paycheck. They rely on human, not monetary, capital.

True professional managers must abide by the following criteria:

1) Have a totally professional mindset. Be responsible to shareholders and the market—don’t be an opportunist or a profiteer.

2) Have professional integrity. Pursue quality. Don’t make mistakes that those in your professional arena shouldn’t make. Consistently produce quality work.

3) Have a professional conscience and professional ethics. Be willing to sacrifice your professional career for your values.

4) Be good at thinking, analyzing and summarizing.

For professional managers, more important than wealth are factors like reputation, commercial achievements, credit in the industry and contributions to society. If you cannot completely accept this, forget about ever being a professional manager. In the corporate world, you have to first figure out which role you play, what you should do, who you should answer to and how much money you should make. You have to find the genuine evaluation criteria. In a competitive environment, you have to figure out how to stay in the mix but not lose direction. You must have the courage and intelligence to confront challenges and to mould yourself into a real, qualified professional manager.

The professional manager must be an outstanding integrator and planner. He or she must excel at dissemination and organization, and have strong professional ethics, personal charm and ambition. Only through training can one attain the rank of true professional manager.

To become a professional manager, there are many topics to study. They include staff-related concepts; the relationship between clients, staff and manager; the creation of managerial authority; team spirit; the improvement of thinking, decision-making and implementation; the creation of an excellent corporate atmosphere; success indicators, adversity quotients and resistance to adversity; credit control procedures and limits; relieving personal stress; and self improvement and reform. Specialized state-run agencies conduct examinations and issue credentials for professional managers, and the country looks set to begin implementation of a fully-fledged accreditation system.

Marlon Mai's picture
Marlon Mai
Managing Director, Greater China