What is a Polish manager like?

Ewa Adamczyk

By Ewa Adamczyk, the Managing Partner & CEO at NAJ International. An insight into managerial recruitment processes of the Executive Search Consultant with 28-year long experience.

Polish C-level Manager/Director/Board Member is a person raised in the last 30 years of the new economy – a 40-60 years old person. He has experience of work in at least 2 organizations. However, there are also professionals whose careers are composed of e.g. 6-7 companies. Such rich portfolios result from frequent job changes (every 2-3 years) at the beginning of their professional careers, which proved to be very beneficial in terms of their further development. Those changes indicated that young professionals were very coveted by companies just entering the Polish market either in terms of their qualifications, competences or character.

Polish C-level Manager/Director/Board Member has been usually brought up by international organizations, which entered Poland in ’90s and later bringing along modern market solutions. As a result,  most often he is a modern manager shaped by rapidly developing and ambitious companies, which were expanding to the east of Europe and were not afraid of risk. He usually held many positions due to internal and external promotions, worked with expatriates – hence he knows his job thoroughly.

Polish C-level Manager/Director/Board Member came across various organizational cultures of Germany, France, USA, UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, China, Japan, Korea and many other countries. He can define the preferred organizational culture and provide reasons for this opinion. He is characterized by high elasticity by being able to modify his team management style in accordance with the style present in the given organization. Furthermore, Polish C-level Manager/Director/Board Member often has experience not only in the area of start-ups, establishment and development of the company, but also, he often observed or participated in mergers, company acquisitions (including direct competitors) or reorganizations. He employed and expelled employees – he learned what it means to work in a global corporation, in which countries with better results transfer profits to headquarters, which takes responsibility for the company’s global results. He adjusted the regional strategies to specifications of the Polish market and often delivered the best results in the region.

Polish C-level Manager/Director/Board Member asks multiple questions in order to understand the strategy and his direct principal, he wants to know “why– understanding of his company/division/department allows him to reach above average results. He is creative, he likes improving – one can count on his suggestions and ideas out-of-the-box. On the other hand, the role of submissive implementer does not suit him well – such tasks usually discourage him after some time and he may become open to new, more interesting challenges. He is an energetic sparring partner for both, the Board and Owners in the home country or abroad. He most often is fluent in English. However, there is also a considerable group of people proficient in German or French.

He is a hardworking person, enjoys the action or building a project. He does not cope well with expelling the employees. He enjoys and needs to be praised, which provides him with additional motivation to even harder work. He is energetic and is open to consider new professional challenges outside Poland due to the insufficient amount of job offers in the national market. His willingness to relocate in Poland, even in the face of a good employment offer, is considerably limited. He likes challenges, he is ambitious, he enjoys learning – he is motivated by achievements. He is keen on overcoming adversities according to the Polish saying, “the harder, the better”. He is fond of being paid properly for his work and it has been a long time since he has been the cheapest manager in Europe, in spite of the fact the Polish market is regarded as the market with low employment costs (they are indeed low, but not necessarily in case of managerial positions).

One of my clients once said: “If I have an international project team, especially if it is a project from the R&D area, I always try to have at least one Pole onboard. When there is adversity, which discourages the whole group, the same adversity is a catalyst for the actions of the Pole and later for the whole team. He will always ask why it cannot be done and will always check all possibilities – there is a chance that he will come up with something out-of-the-box. He usually is an optimist and tackles problems with an “everything can be done, there is always a solution” attitude. It is up to us if we will make use of ideas generated in that way. If I add more analytically oriented nationalities to such a team, then the effect is outstanding”.

If you feel that your international boards lack creativity – maybe it is worth checking what nationalities you have onboard.

About the author

Ewa Adamczyk


Ewa Adamczyk started working for NAJ International in 1994. As a Junior Consultant, she handled expert and managerial position projects for the FMCG, production, distribution and finance sectors. At the time, the company’s customers recruited were the big, multinational that had just started operating in Poland and were creating new structures. In the following years, she served as Business Development Manager and Client Director, before being promoted to the position of General Director in 2005. Ewa has always been connected to active customer acquisition and involved in the execution of more and more demanding projects, including filling Management Boards. She holds the title of M.SC. Eng. in Food Science and graduated with an MBA from the Leon Koźminski Academy of Entrepreneurship and Management and Competency Management Studies at Warsaw University. Ewa also completed coaching training certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF).

Ewa Adamczyk is involved in the creation of new products that meet the expectations of customers in modern times, i.e. Assessment Centre, Outplacement Using a Head Hunter’s Skills, Psychologist and Coach, Coaching Training, Market Mapping.

In December 2011, Ewa completed the Management Buyout process and is currently serving as Managing Partner/CEO.

Ewa speaks English, German and basic Russian.

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