5 Steps to Develop Managers into Leaders

By Amanda Basse

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

For managers to bring their team to the next level, and take their business from mediocre to extraordinary, you have to understand the difference between management and leadership.

However, the terms ‘Manager’ and ‘Leader’ are often incorrectly used interchangeably. Every manager isn’t a leader, and every leader isn’t a manager. A manager and a leader have two completely roles, but they do go hand in hand.

When management and leadership are balanced, they are complementary and can help the bottom line of your organization grow. Many managers wish to be leaders.

In fact, many managers feel they are leaders. How can you develop them into that role?

How? Here are the 5 steps:

1. Difference Between Managers and Leaders

Great managers are critical to a business’s success. They provide all the tools and training needed for employees to be productive and successful. A manager ensures all the infrastructure needed to be successful is in the hands of their employees.

By definition, a manager has juniors and a position of authority within the company. They monitor and track progress and focus on systems and structures.

Characteristics of a Leader

A leader can be anyone on the team who steps up to inspire and motivate. A leader focuses on encouraging teamwork and commitment to the end goal. A great leader makes everyone on the team feel empowered and encourages the team to learn and grow.  Influence and mentorship set leaders apart from managers.

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Peter Drucker

2. Shift in Mindset

The basic mindset of a manager is different from that of a leader. Some people believe that leaders are born; they innately lead. It is part of who they are. This holds some truth. However, it is completely possible to develop a manager into a leader when given the right tools.

The biggest tool is to understand the mindset differences and how to give your managers the tools to develop into a leader.

Managers have a bricklayer mindset, and leaders have an architect mindset. Take a manager’s ability to implement structure, processes, and standards, and have them use those skills to work with their team to build a vision and see beyond the task at hand.

This is to help managers to take their eyes off the bottom line and to focus on the horizon. It is what a leader does day in and day out and where you can find the essence of great leadership.

3. Provide Inspiration

A manager plans details, while a leader sets the direction. The goal is to make a shift from transactional interactions to transformational ones. This relinquishment of control can be hard for managers who are rigid in their habits.

In order to inspire your managers, provide them with training. “When hiring managers, there are several key indicators that indicate whether or not this person will lead a team or simply manage. The vocabulary is different. I look for words like ‘cultivate, mentorship, and build,’. “ says Leah Preston, who is the Human Resources Manager for a resort hotel.

Good leaders don’t let their ego rule and never fail to give credit where credit is due.

4. Leverage Talent

A manager assigns tasks, while a leader works collaboratively to reach an end goal. Part of leadership is learning to leverage talents and skills. Looking at each goal individually and then leveraging whose strengths will be best suited to complete the task.

A manager will delegate tasks, and a leader will create teams of people whose strengths and weaknesses balance each other to have a peak performance, usually exceeding the end goal. A big component of leadership is learning to seek out experts in a task and giving them credit.

Leaders understand people do more for recognition than other forms of reward. Leaders learn to relate to a wide variety of personalities and build relationships that are mutually beneficial. Leveraging relationships isn’t putting the work off for others, as management can often feel.

Leadership is working collaboratively to reach an end goal, leaving all those involved feeling fulfilled.  “We are a small boutique hotel. That means many of our staff have the unique opportunity to develop skills that extend outside of their job description.  

We encourage our team to step up when needed and be proud to help out a fellow employee when needed. It is part of the culture we have created.” says Emily Dille, Marketing Manager for Laguna Beach House.

Top leaders will take assignments and streamline the process.

Team Dynamics

5. Trust the Team

Many of the managers are either old-school-do-it-my-way types or new-school-nobody-is-ever-wrong types.  The old-school type wears himself out trying to oversee every single detail from start to finish and displays little to no trust in the team he most likely hired. 

New-school types spend too much time trying to appease a variety of people with different notions on the same projects.

Both are exhausting to the average employee, and projects end up taking too long, running over budget, or not meeting quality standards.

A leader will give the team direction and trust everyone can handle the task at hand without micromanaging. There is a delicate balance here where the team knows the leader is available for help, while the manager can’t help by trying to micromanage every step of the way.

A great leader trusts the team and inspires them to exceed expectations and step up when and where needed.  The Leader understands they can be available to the team throughout the whole process without being overbearing.

Excellence in leadership requires being actively hands-on from beginning to end. Leadership extends beyond delegation.

The process of evolving into a leader is more natural for some. For others, it takes constant work and mindfulness of how their actions affect the team. These 5 steps can help anyone transition into a leadership role.

Soon, the whole team will notice a change, and your peers will begin to follow your lead. Take this role carefully and with the greatest intention to serve the team before serving yourself.

How Can Managers Develop into Leaders?

If you have ideas about managers that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Amanda Basse
Amanda Basse
Amanda is passionate about leadership, self discovery and marketing. She hopes to inspire people to passionately pursue their dreams. You can follow Amanda for more leadership tips on Facebook.
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