How Managers Become Leaders With A Shift in Focus - September 8, 2017
I have a coworker who is a very effective manager. He sets goals. He is innovative in his approach. He moves projects forward. And he is highly respected by the leadership team, to the point where, when an opportunity presented itself, he was promoted to a leadership role.
Unfortunately, his progress stopped there. While he was a very effective project manager, he struggled with the profit and loss responsibilities and the politics that came with this new role.
Within companies, the goal for succession planning is to give employees the opportunity to move into more levels of responsibility. As was the case with my coworker, managers are typically promoted into leadership roles with the thought that their effectiveness will continue. But without the proper training and preparation, this can be unrealistic.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share five key differences between leaders and managers, as defined by Brian Braudis, a certified coach, speaker and author.
1. Production To Outcomes: The immediate challenge for managers is to shift their thinking and operating from a "making widgets" mindset to an influencing outcomes mindset. It is inherent in the leadership process that the leader influences the outcome. As the new leader begins working with department heads and stakeholders, he or she needs a long-term view rather than a short-term, stepping stone implementation. Rather than making and counting widgets, a new leader must have both eyes toward efficiencies now and the necessary adaptations needed in the future.
2. Specialist To Visionary: Managers thrive as specialists. They know their department, their people and their function. Leaders must know the language of all departments. They must be able to translate information, patterns and trends from departments into the language of efficiencies, profit and direction. The vision of the organization is up to the leadership. Leaders must harness what is known now with the trends they see in the telescope and provide direction.
3. From One To All: Managers have the responsibility to manage the day-to-day activity on the floor. They are embedded with the staff. Leaders don't manage things as much as they provide direction. Whereas a manager focuses on employee engagement, a leader has a focus of workforce engagement.
A new leader may have lingering "departmental biases" that show up as baggage that slows meetings and other processes down. The classic mistake is for new leaders to over-manage and under-lead, especially in respect to their previous function.
4. Solving Problems To Seeing Problems Before They Develop: Strictly speaking, managers and leaders are keen problem solvers. But where leaders earn their keep is seeing problems before they happen. If a leader can identify slowed growth or a decline in earnings early on and proactively put things in place to avoid the dreaded "workforce planning," this vision can save everyone.
5. Worker To Learner: Leadership is not about knowing—it's about learning. New leaders typify the shift from a working manager to a learning leader. As they work to cultivate an open mind and flexibility, they must also demonstrate a commitment to relentless self-improvement—that means applying continuous learning toward competency, excellence and greatness.
As you develop your succession-planning strategies, focus not only on tapping future leaders, but developing them so that they can make an effective transition.
Source: Brian Braudis is a highly sought-after human potential expert, certified coach, speaker and author of High Impact Leadership: 10 Action Strategies for Your Ascent. He has also authored several audio programs from executive leadership development to stress management. Braudis believes "leadership" is a verb not a title. His passionate and inspiring presentations are based on the foundation that regardless of your position or role everyone is a leader.