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nmStart will look for boot.properties and startup.properties files when trying to start a managed server. If it does not find these files, it will assume that it is starting an Admin Server.
Also, even if these files are manually created, nmStart would start the managed server in MSI (Managed Server Independence) mode.
So, WebLogic recommends starting the managed servers using the "start" WLST command instead of "nmStart" command.
"Using the start command causes WLST to contact the Administration Server to determine the Managed Servers startup properties. These are in turn passed to Node Manager and are used to start the Managed Server."
Thus, the managed server will still be monitored by the node manager.
"The following general procedures are recommended for starting a Managed Server using WLST and Node Manager.
1. Start Node Manager. See Starting Node Manager.
2. Start an Administration Server. See Starting Instances of WebLogic Server in Managing Server Startup and Shutdown.
3. Invoke WLST and connect to an Administration Server using the connect command.
4. Start your Managed Server using the WLST start command."
For further information, review the following documentation:
So, please do not use nmStart to start your managed server expecially when you are starting for the first time.
Start the managed server using the "start" WLST command as explained in the above steps (picked from documentation)