Let’s get personal today. Why do you wake up early to go to work? Why do you work so hard and smart? Why do you invest in yourself through formal education as well as executive training?
The answer is simple and it applies to most of us. No matter what your position or title in the organization, you desire to climb the corporate ladder and feel important. Most of us start at the entry level and with time grow into managerial roles.
In this growth quest, you need to keep upgrading your skills and abilities to optimize your performance. The more you deliver the more responsibilities you get and this requires a different set of skills. What earned you the promotion will not keep you there and thus today’s topic of discussion – how to transition from manager to leader.
Management is the organization and coordination of activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives, and leadership is the ability to achieve results through influencing, inspiring and aligning others. As a manager, you have a set number of objectives that you need to achieve, top on the list being company profitability, therefore, you need to do all that it takes to achieve that through your staff.
The differences between managers and leaders
These differences between how managers and leaders handle people will bring this into perspective:-
•A manager administers while a leader innovates.
•A manager maintains while a leader develops.
•A manager focuses on the short-term range while a leader on the long-term range.
•A manager stays within the status quo while a leader seeks to be original.
•A manager relies on control to achieve results while a leader inspires trust to achieve results.
•A manager uses push and direct while a leader uses pull and expect.
These are just but a few of the differences, I am sure, as you read through someone came to mind. We can sum this up by one huge difference, how you inspire your people to deliver work. Here are five tips that will help you in this important transition.
Understand where you are
The first step is to evaluate where you are in relation to the above differences. You can get to know this better by seeking feedback from your superiors as well as your subordinates and peers. Actively seeking this information will set you on the right path towards unleashing your leadership potential.
Connect with yourself first before you try to connect with your staff. Remember leadership comes from within; it starts with knowing who you are, where you are and where you are heading.
Invest in leadership growth
Make a commitment to grow in the leadership area. Learn, learn and learn some more on how to get better. The beauty of the human nature is our capacity to learn, take the risks and rewards will blow your mind. Did you know that leadership is 25% Intelligence Quotient and 75% Emotional Quotient? Emotional quotient is about integrity, interpersonal skills, motivation and commitment.
Another great way to learn valuable leadership skills is to get a coach or mentor who can show you the ropes. Learning from somebody else’s struggles and successes save you a lot of pain. Learning is an active process.
Focus on people
As stated above, leadership is about influencing, inspiring and aligning others. For a smooth transition, you need to start doing that not just telling them what to do and when to do it. Be genuinely interested in people. What is your attitude towards people? Do you like them for who they are or just as a means to achieving your objectives?
Wear the appropriate hat
Leadership requires you to wear different hats at different times. At times, you will need to be the manager to move things forward. Other times you need to be the “mother” to nurture your team or the “father” to discipline them. Your ability to know which hat to wear when will set you apart and build the trust you need with your staff faster. Remember you cannot lead people who do not trust you.
Be bold and courageous
Finally yet importantly, be bold and courageous. It takes courage to step into leadership in full gear. A true leader sees the vision, believes it is achievable, communicates its possibilities, motivates the team to own it and inspires others to put their best foot forward. While doing all this, you will encounter enough challenges that you need to overcome along the way. You need to be comfortable with such risks to make it. Risk taking is not for the faint of heart.
In conclusion, true leadership is about character and your core values shape it. This is a transition, just as a child learns how to crawl before walking, take the time you need to learn and practice on the go. You can be a manager who is a leader or simply a ‘boss’, the choice is yours. As John C Maxwell quoted,” A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”
Provided by Le & Associates Company