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Talking Insurance: Categories of managers in insurance industry(2)

By Yinka Bolarinwa
Managers owe responsibilities to their stakeholders, but particularly to shareholders who through the board of directors control the activities of managers so that optimal efficiency may be achieved and at times hire and fire managers where appropriate.

As soon to be highlighted, the major types of managers perform the same roles  and responsibilities generally; the major variance based on the degree of such responsibility meted out to them, the level of freedom and environment within which they operate.

Many evaluate managers’ performance without considering their responsibilities as individuals with respect to the level of freedom and environment where they operate. To actually do this, I will encourage us to have a good look at the features and challenges of various types of managers in our industry, which I categorize these managers into Purely Professional-managers, Inheritance-Managers, and Owner-Managers.

The Purely Professional-managers are managers (who can also be called paid managers) who are employees or agents of the shareholders/principal, working towards objectives chiefly set by the board of directors and likewise supervised by the board of directors who represent the interest of the shareholders or at time remain the shareholders.

Often, a pure professional manager does not have any ownership or infinitesimal ownership in the organisation they manage and also don’t have grace of reviewing or reset the organizational objective even as a professional in the field.

Professional manager’s plight

Actually, hiring and firing of purely professional managers is determined by the board of directors. One could start imagining how this manager who does not have ownership right, who works to achieve objectives set by the board of directors, who most of the time neither has a permanent seat on the board nor freedom of decision making, and whose career growthremains in the hands of the of the principal is expected to perform wonderfully well. This is because lack of ownership position of the manager inhibits innovation and performance.

I am really not discussing the principal-agent problem, but the question of what determines the success of a purely professional manager considering all the limitations imposed on him by environment where he operates still begs for answer.

Holding the professional competence of the manager constant, in my view and from experience, the major success factor is the latitude of the professional manager to align himself with powerful constituency of the board.

This will enable him/her garner the required confidence needed for effective functioning and drastically influence his/her confidence level to operate as a manager which will naturally rub-off positively on his/her empowerment autonomy.

Since management borders more on decision making, once a manager successfully identifies and aligns with the boards’ powerful constituency, interact well with the entire board, he is assured of a good height of success as he can be allowed the privilege to review the organisation’s objectives.

Conversely, if any professional manager’s interest is not in line with the board’s powerful constituency, in my opinion, such a manager’s performance as well as his career growth will surely be in jeopardy.


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