From Manager to Leader – The Process
Anyone can have people working for them and call themselves a manager. But it takes really strong leadership skills to be a leader and has people following you. While a manager needs to tell their people what to do and how to do it, a leader has the power to inspire them to go above and beyond to become the best versions of themselves. A successful entrepreneur must be a great mix of leadership and management skills in order to make their team focus on achieving all company goals.
Knowing how to be a leader isn’t something that you are born with. It takes time, a lot of personal and professional experiences, and strong soft skills to know how to inspire and help others into constantly becoming better. While education is an essential part of the good development of a leader, extracurricular activities are what matter the most. The experts from Immerse Education explain that” taking part in summer schools and other extracurricular activities can have a positive impact on your leadership behavior as you get to practice discipline, learn how to understand others, and how to work in a team towards achieving a mutual goal”.
If you have a management title but you don’t feel like you are a great leader, making a subtle shift is essential for the success of your career and for your people. Here is what it takes to go from being a manager to being a leader to your team:
Leader vs. manager- understanding the difference
The difference between being a boss or a leader to your employees is a very popular topic in the business landscape. Everybody knows that a boss only forces you to stick to rigid tasks and processes of fulfilling them while a leader encourages you to come up with innovative solutions. But when it comes to the differences between being a leader or a, things don’t seem so obvious.
First of all, leaders and managers have different key traits they use to handle their team. While a manager needs to have the ability to direct and explain a strategic vision that the team must follow, a good leader needs to have traits that are closer to what emotional intelligence means including communication skills, inspiration, and integrity.
Also, while leaders paint a picture of their vision and allow their team to add their ideas and turn that vision into reality, managers create goals that can be measured and need to be followed strictly by their people to achieve them.
Perhaps the most iconic difference between managers and leaders is the fact that those who want to lead offer coaching to their team, but those who only manage teams direct their people by assigning tasks and providing advice on how to accomplish them.
Understanding the difference between a good leader and a good manager helps you honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses to know what steps must be taken to make the shift from manager to leader.
Identify and enhance the value of your people’s strengths
The main goal of a leader is to inspire and to help their people to become the best versions of themselves. Helping your teammates to develop will benefit you, them, and the company. As a leader, knowing your team is the first thing to do. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses will help you lead them towards the tasks that they can get the best results to and keep them away from the tasks that may put them in difficulty.
Knowing the strengths of your people is the best way to determine which tasks to give them because you are confident that they will accomplish them in the best possible way. Moreover, delegating tasks to your team based on their preferences and the things they are good at will also make them feel more valued.
Learn how to listen
One of the most important traits that a good leader must have is knowing how to efficiently communicate with their people. It doesn’t only help them collaborate better towards accomplishing a mutual task but it also helps the team bond and strengthen. Knowing how to listen plays a major role in getting more invested participation from all your team members. Encourage all your employees, even those with less experience, to express their opinions and ideas. Brainstorming is a great way to allow your team to show their most innovative ideas which can result in the best solutions to overcome challenges and accomplish tasks.
A good leader must also have great emotional intelligence skills in order to understand their team members and connect with them. Emotional intelligence can help you draw the best out of your people by challenging them to focus on constant improvement.
Ask your team for feedback
Even leaders have something to learn from the people they lead. As a leader, you should never be scared of constructive criticism because it is essential to help you become better at what you do. Having a leadership position can be really challenging because you must earn the respect of the others and you might think that allowing them that you are doing something wrong will make you less of a leader.
However, creating a workplace that encourages open communication regardless of the job title in the organization is the first step towards better collaboration and improved results. Allowing your team to give you feedback on the way you lead will only help you become a better leader. Plus, it will prove once again to your team that you are far from being a manager who they should fear and that you are a leader they can learn together with.
Learn how to take responsibility
Taking risks is a large part of your responsibilities as a leader. Your team follows you throughout all your decisions because they trust your judgment from your position. However, risks can sometimes be followed by failures. A good leader must set a good example of how to cope with failures in a beneficial manner by learning from their mistakes. Taking responsibility for failures will make your team respect you from owning up to mistakes instead of blaming them or a poorly accomplished task.
Shifting from being a manager to being a leader might be challenging. However, once you learn how to lead your team instead of directing them to tasks, not only the company will benefit from it, but also you and your people.