Not too often we get to hear stories about those people who influenced their employees and who turned out to be successful during the transition from manager to leader. Whenever an employee is promoted from being a manager who manages a team or a company to a leader who leads a team or a unit or a company, the role he plays as a leader could not possibly be as effective as the role he played when he was a manager. The reasons are aplenty with most of them credited to the accustomed practices that a manager fails to incorporate when being a leader. The most prominent of it contributing is the basic thing, where leadership requires a mindset that is different from management.
Many of them struggle mightily when they shift from leading a function to leading an enterprise that requires taking leadership skills to a next level. In order to make the transition successful, employees/executives must tune in themselves to a set of changes that have to be inculcated during the process.
1. Knowledgeable to Insightful: Managers are known to possess great knowledge, yet there is something beyond it that a leader possesses, i.e., being insightful. Leaders are expected to think differently and a stretch in the thinking, enhancement in the practice can help you show the way forward. An insightful leader not only thinks differently but also suggests practical ways to turn the thoughts into action. Apart from being knowledgeable, a leader should challenge himself/herself to apply his/her cumulative knowledge in innovative ways. He should apply his insights in making wise decisions considering the past, present and also future that could benefit the team and the organization as a whole.
2. Action-oriented to Visionary: A manager is generally action-oriented and focuses more on executions. Contrary to a manager, a leader is determined to be visionary. He focuses on the vision and then develops a plan, shares it with his team, works collectively and collaboratively with them to execute the plan that accomplishes the vision. Being a visionary requires the confidence to see through the future, and beyond something that an individual or manager does not see. It also requires encouraging innovation, creativity, and resourcefulness to empower his team towards productivity.
3. Task-Focused to People-Focused: Managers are merely task-focused as all their concentration dwells on getting the tasks done by his teammates, whereas, a leader is people-oriented. While shifting from manager to leader, the leader should shift his focus more towards people, and be empathetic to them. Encourage them, give them the freedom to make decisions, and more importantly coach your team members to help them grow and develop at a faster pace. Engage with them, and ensure that they have the resources and support they need. Instead of simply assigning tasks, inspire them by cultivating conditions for success. Lastly, thank and reward people for their contribution.
4. Instructional to Inspirational: The most important trait of a leader is inspiring his team by setting a good example for them. Good managers instruct their team to work but a leader inspires and influences them to work. What a great leader usually does is, he practices before preaching. Rather than preaching and instructing them to work on the tasks, a leader himself works along with his team creating an atmosphere that encourages them to work effectively.
5. Tactical Manager to Strategic Leader: Leaders are responsible for taking the organization into the future. During the transition from manager to a leader, an individual need to adopt a strategic mindset and shift from being a tactician to a strategist. However, developing such a mindset does not come overnight. One needs to build the ability to shift through different levels of analysis, recognize the patterns and strategic analysis of opportunities and threats. The strategic mindset also includes a willingness to take risks to achieve rewards, rely on experienced staff who give him advice and trust his peers and direct reports.