Manager to Leader – How to Make the Change

Have you been a manager for a while now?  Or just recently promoted?  Either way, it’s such a rewarding job to support a team by taking the reigns and being personally responsible for the actions and outcomes of everybody in the team.

The early days of management

I don’t know about you, but when I first moved from being a field sales rep to being the manager of the team, I made every mistake in the book.  Literally, every single one, I’m sure of it.  I tried to do everything myself.  I tried to think for people. My vision of utopia was building a team of mini-me.  Luckily I was saved by a wise old owl (a wonderful man called Tony) who taught me there was a different way to manage people.  And it was a much better way….

Introducing the concept of Leadership as opposed to Management.

Management is about getting things done.  It’s task focussed and as the name suggests, it eludes to a ‘safe pair of hands’ to simply manage the task that needs performing.

Leadership is bigger than the task, it’s broader than just getting an objective delivered.  People follow a leader, but they work for a manager.

Leader Manager

How to go from being a Manager, to being a Leader…..

Stop telling the team what to do and how to do it.

It doesn’t mean you can’t influence, but you do need to influence through coaching and empowerment.  Inspire the action, don’t demand it.

Share you and your values.

Be personal (not too much).  There’s no place for the corporate stiff-upper-lip style of leader anymore.  Be you.  Share your values and stay true to them.

Show empathy.

Consider the impact of your leadership on others.  How will the team feel?  In what ways can you tailor your style to suit each individual in the team?  Before rolling out a big new initiative, think things through with empathy.

Respect others’ time.

Don’t make immediate demands on people.  Give advance notice of deadlines. Share meeting agendas in plenty of time.  Allow people the time to think and prepare.

Be authentic.  Operate with integrity.

We all know that the leader sometimes has to do and say things they don’t always want to.  But stay true to who you are.  Stay true to your values.

Truly understand your people.

Know their strengths and their motivators.  Spend enough time with your team to really understand who’s good at what, and figure out how you can amplify their diverse qualities to benefit the team.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

Be a good enough communicator to adapt your style to suit the audience, the topic and the general mood in the camp.  Share as much as you can with people.  Be open and as transparent as it’s possible to be (without overstepping the boundaries of your role)

Embed a coaching culture.

Managers give out tasks.  Leaders ask “how are you planning to achieve your goals”.  Spend time coaching your people.  They will 100% value the time and input you give them.  And they’ll also operate at a higher level too.  Businesses who embed a culture of coaching have inspired staff, who over perform.

Focus on long term people development.

You might ask “why would I want to develop someone to such a standard that they’ll then want to leave and get a better job somewhere else?” .  The answer is simple.  If you support your team’s long term development, and help carve out a more successful future for them….they’ll never want to leave you.  Have you heard the saying “people join a business but they leave a manager”?

 

Say “Thank You”

Show gratitude.  Say thank you.  It doesn’t have to be monetary or a grand gesture.  Just a heartfelt, genuine thank you is good enough.  It goes a long way.  Think about extending the thank you to your staff’s family too – especially if working late and going the extra mile is a regular event.

Leading people is an amazing privilege.  Enjoy it.

Here’s to your success 🙂

2 Replies to “Manager to Leader – How to Make the Change”

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