For the most part, managers oversee projects and members of their team. Leaders tend to work alongside managers, with the hopes of inspiring them and encouraging them to see how they’re contributing to the wider company goals. If you’re at a stage in your career where you’re ready to take the next step and transition from manager to leader, CV-Library’s got you covered.
Below, I have outlined the differences between the two and explain how you can progress seamlessly.
Let go of the day-to-day
One of the biggest changes you’ll make in the transition from manager to leader is learning to step back and let go of some of the day-to-day tasks. This might sound odd, but your job will now be to create a trusting workforce that communicates well, ensuring that senior members of staff complete their work to the best of their abilities, without being micromanaged. Though it can be tricky, as a leader you need to learn to leave the organisation part to others, as your focus shifts to supporting your team and driving them towards shared goals.
Challenge the status quo
As a manager, if you spot a problem, the key is to get this sorted as quickly and efficiently as possible. To take the step up to leader you need to stop and think ‘OK, I see the problem, so how can we make the process and team more efficient?’ It’s about seeing a bigger picture and how you can inspire the team to do an even better job next time round, even if this means shaking things up.
Empower your employees
While managers are there to sign off projects and ensure that work is done on time, leaders are there to empower employees and encourage them to feel passionate about the job they’re doing. If you want to be a leader, you need to make sure that you’re inspiring your team and boosting their confidence within their role. For example, a manager in a sales role might push employees to hit target, while a leader will look at their techniques and see if there are ways the business can support them to increase their performance.
Encourage good communication
Communication is vital to both managers and leaders, but it can mean different things for each role. As a manager you need your team to communicate with you to let you know how projects are going and whether everything is running smoothly. To transition to a leader, you need to take this level of communication further. While you need to have regular catch ups with your team to understand how their work is going, your reasoning will now be to get a better understanding of what they want from their role and career. This might mean setting goals or encouraging them to take on more responsibility. Good communication as a leader also helps to build trust. Since you’ve stepped back from the day-to-day tasks, you need to trust that your team are picking these up and doing them to the best of their ability. You also want to be assured that they’re working towards shared goals and are committed to the business. It’s this trust in your team that allows you to support their goals and helps you excel as a leader.
While managers are important for overseeing projects and ensuring everything is running smoothly, it takes a leader to motivate and drive a happy team. Making the transition from manager to leader means taking a step back from the general day-to-day tasks and instead thinking of how you can support the overall career goals and happiness of your employees.