As we celebrate all the successful men in the list of Top 40 under 40, it got me thinking about how successful men can maintain and surpass what they have accomplished.

Unfortunately, looking at the last few months, we have seen successful men who are experts in their areas and are nationally and internationally recognised and respected drop the ball. They have been involved in scandals resulting in losing their jobs, funding for their businesses and in the end, credibility because of something they said or did.

It got me thinking, beyond one’s technical skills and accomplishments; what else do successful men need to maintain their impact on society and continue to flourish in their careers?

Successful people are held at a higher standard because of their position in society, but they can easily fall if they lack some of the soft skills below that I have addressed in this article.


The work environment has changed significantly. For instance, as a man, you might find yourself leading a female-dominated workplace. So how do you ensure you lead while understanding and being aware of their needs and experience?

You may find an employee that has always been very active and engaged throughout and is now a new mother. You may require her to deliver but at the same time, the employee may expect you to allow for some flexibility and understand their situation where they may need to leave early or sometimes come late to work to balance family obligation and their career.

Knowing how to balance this is important and can be done through having empathy.

Empathy can be developed by listening while being open to expanding our understanding beyond our normal experiences for others.


Naturally, if you are a successful man, your leadership status might put a wall between you and the people you head.

Being approachable means that you can be trusted by other people and you can influence them despite your title or position. It means that people around you are comfortable sharing with you information, either good or bad, and know that you can lend them an ear. This is important as people trust you more, which helps you form a wide range of network that builds on your credibility, and you are likely not to miss out on timely information that may come in handy in your decision-making.

Communication skills

A successful leader is able to persuade and articulate direction to the people they lead. It is crucial to be a skilled communicator in all your relationships from all levels of the organisation, to the community and sometimes on a global scale to achieve results.

Being able to think clearly, express your ideas and share information articulately with different audiences and knowing when to communicate and how to do it to meet different needs is important.

To improve your communications skills, consider taking a public speaking training course.

Be able to trust others

If you are a self-made successful man, it may be difficult for you to trust other people as you believe your work to be the best.

If you cannot trust your team, you are probably going to micromanage them, which will stall progress and in turn, your staff may not also trust you.

Instead, consider empowering others by sharing responsibilities and guiding them on things you would like done while equipping them with the needed skills.

This will even help you have time to focus on the bigger picture.

Good manners

Good manners make good leaders. It means you treat people with kindness and shows respect for them.

Respect goes both ways. Having in mind that you cannot expect others to respect you just because your position is important.

It could be as easy as not being rude to the waitress in a restaurant or not showing up late for meetings.

We have seen people who have lost credibility due to this basic skill. Leaders who grow and last have good manners.

Be open to feedback

For a leader to be successful in their role, they need to be open to feedback. It helps you make informed decisions that avoid failure and negative effect on the business and relationships.

It shows that you can listen and people can trust you enough and feel safe to share with you what they think including innovative ideas without fear of consequence. This can help you improve the functions of your business.


As a successful man, your expertise and your technical skills may not always keep you at the helm. The skills we have discussed above are everyday skills that you can learn, apply and perfect. They will help you stay at the top and even surpass your accomplishments.

Perminus Wainaina is the CEO at Corporate Staffing Services, A HR consultancy firm based in Westlands, Nairobi.