Transitioning from Manager to Leader

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Many managers say that the hardest thing they had to learn in their new role wasn't their duties and responsibilities, but the skills to lead people. This is especially true of those who were promoted from the ranks without benefit of management training.

 

We at Integrity Staffing Solutions have talked with hundreds of managers, both inside and outside our organization. Here are the 4 top things they say differentiate a manager from a leader.

 

Managers give orders. Leaders delegate.

Leaders know how to fully empower their employees by clearly explaining the goals of the project, who is doing what, when it needs to be done and how success will be measured. They give people the opportunity to have ownership of their work and make meaningful contributions. This is not only great for morale, it eliminates a lot of confusion and wasted time in accomplishing tasks.

 

Managers make a work unit. Leaders build a team.

Simply telling individuals that they are now a team won't make them perform like one. A good leader will first make sure the team has the right mix of personalities, skills and strengths; and then will take the time to give them an understanding of the team vision and mission. A team that believes it is more than the sum of its parts is well on its way to success.

 

Managers hire the best resume. Leaders hire the best person.

Leaders understand that employees are not just a set of skills. Character, ambition, commitment and teamwork are even more important to a company's success, not just because those qualities mean higher productivity, but because they're also associated with fewer performance problems and lower turnover costs.

 

Managers talk. Leaders communicate.

Leaders think about what their listeners will hear, not about what they want to say. So they'll tailor the message to the audience: one type of language for the rank and file, another for the board meeting. Even more important, leaders know that communication is a two-way street. They listen to ideas and concerns no matter who's voicing them.

 

Have you noticed what these 4 things have in common? They're all about people: getting them to work well for you and with each other. In our opinion, that's the key difference. A manager focuses on operations, a leader on people. When a manager becomes a leader, everyone wins: the company, the employees and the manager him/herself.

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