As you climb the ladder of success in your career, one of your dreams would be to make a leap from being a manager to holding one of the leadership positions. Even though being a leader will require your expertise and management skills you learned over the years, it would add to your responsibilities enormously. The difference between manager and leader is that people work for managers, whereas leaders have people follow them. In this article, we would discuss several key aspects you need to focus on when taking on your new role as a leader.
One of the first things you need to work on when transitioning from manager to leader is to work on your emotional intelligence. You need to focus on not only getting the work done but also to understand if your employees’ skills are fully used and developed in the process. It is also the leader’s responsibility to understand whether the employees are happy and satisfied with the organization or if there are shortcomings that are dampening the growth effort.
Reading between the lines, developing interpersonal skills, and adding that personal touch to your approach helps you get a better grasp of how to increase your employees’ productivity and, hence, the organization.
Look and Sound Like a Leader
When you are transitioning from a manager to a leader, focus not only on your skills, role, attitude, and approach but also how you look and sound. Dressing powerfully and sounding confident and straightforward is essential for a leader. The first impression is the last impression, and if you don’t look like a leader, you’ll not be able to send your message across as clearly as you’d want.
This is one skill that you need to master because, as a leader, you would be making tons of important decisions day in and day out. Quick thinking and strategizing logically to align your decisions and its consequences with the desired goals are essential attributes every leader ought to have. A leader develops their own formula when it comes to decision-making, and you can polish your decision-making skills over time as well through trial and error.
Cultivating transparent and ethical work culture in an organization is the responsibility of a leader. It is also clearly showcased in a survey conducted by Harvard Business School that employees are more engaged when leaders communicate with them openly and directly. Transparency in an organization helps develop a closely-knitted work culture based on trust and collaborative in nature.
Learn to Delegate
You cannot and should not try to do everything yourself or be closely supervising everything that is going on in an organization. Learning to delegate your talented employees would help them develop their skills as well as help them feel accountable and responsible. Making mistakes is human, but a leader knows that a mistake today means results tomorrow. Give your employees and teams the space they need to thrive. Focusing on the core functions you’re responsible for while letting your employees handle the rest on their own would do your organization more good than you can imagine. Stop micro-managing.
As a manager, you’re mainly responsible for a specific department or a team, but as a leader, the entire organization depends on you. You need to articulately find ways to expand your strategic scope and make innovation the basis of it. Never be afraid of challenges as a leader, but instead try to turn adversity into an opportunity. Most of all, always remember that as a leader, you’re like the parent of the company, and don’t expect your employees to give a hundred percent when you don’t.