The role of top management is crucial to the success of a company. Managers at this level bear immense responsibility and have a significant influence on corporate culture, strategic decisions and long-term growth. But what makes a good leader in top management? And what role models should aspiring managers look up to?

The importance of role models in top management

Role models play a decisive role in the development of managers. They provide guidance, inspire and set standards by which others can measure themselves. In today's complex business world, expectations of leaders are high: they should be visionary, set ethical standards, have excellent communication skills and be able to motivate and lead their teams.

Characteristics of successful managers

To understand which role models aspiring leaders should look to, it is important to consider the characteristics of successful leaders. Key factors include:

  1. Integrity and ethics: A manager must act with integrity and ethically. Trust is the foundation of any successful business relationship. Leaders like Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, are known for gaining the trust of their employees and stakeholders through transparency and integrity.
  2. Vision and strategic thinking: Successful managers have a clear vision and the ability to think strategically. They can set long-term goals and plan the necessary steps to achieve them. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, embodies this characteristic through his ambitious projects and his ability to turn his visions into reality.
  3. Communication skills: A good manager must be able to communicate effectively. This includes not only speaking, but also listening. Leaders such as Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, are characterized by their ability to convey complex ideas clearly and concisely, while at the same time responding to the needs and concerns of their teams.
  4. Adaptability and willingness to learn: In a rapidly changing world, the ability to adapt and constantly learn is crucial. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, demonstrates the importance of continuous development through his innovative spirit and willingness to break new ground.

Role models from various industries

There are numerous leaders from different industries who can serve as role models. These personalities offer different approaches and leadership styles that can be useful depending on the context and personal preference:

  1. Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo: Indra Nooyi is known for her strategic skills and commitment to sustainability. She led PepsiCo through significant restructuring and championed a healthy balance between profit and social responsibility.
  2. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple: Tim Cook has proven that he is not only a capable successor to Steve Jobs, but can also make his own mark. He is known for his calm and level-headed management style as well as his focus on data protection and ethical business practices.
  3. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors: "Mary Barra has led General Motors through a period of great change and has put the company's focus on electromobility and sustainability. She shows how important it is to be innovative and future-oriented in a traditional industry.

The search for your own management style

While it is helpful to look to successful leaders for guidance, it is equally important to develop your own leadership style. Everyone has individual strengths and weaknesses, and a leadership style should be authentic and tailored to your own personality.

A good way to develop your own style is to try out different approaches and learn from different role models. Networking, mentoring and continuous training are also valuable tools for developing as a manager.


The search for role models in top management is an ongoing process. Successful leaders are characterized by integrity, strategic thinking, communication skills and adaptability. By learning from the best while developing your own authentic leadership style, you can be on your way to becoming an outstanding leader in top management. Ultimately, it's about constantly evolving and always remaining open to new ideas and approaches.

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