5 winning strategies to go from manager to leader

Dive into our latest article to discover 5 game-changing strategies that will elevate your leadership journey.

5 winning strategies to go from manager to leader

Saturday November 04, 2023,

4 min Read

Are you working in your dream job role? First and foremost, congratulations on that! But are you willing to transition to a leadership role?

To begin, we’d like to highlight that even though organisations tend to use "managers" and "leaders" interchangeably, there’s a thin line of difference between the two. In Peter Drucker’s words–

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

While proficient managers excel in executing tasks with precision and specialisation, dynamic leaders are visionaries instilling confidence in their teams and inspiring them towards unbounded excellence.

Shifting from managerial roles to leadership positions represents an organisational requisite in today's dynamic work landscape. Leaders play a pivotal role in elevating engagement levels. The teams under their guidance exhibit a myriad of positive outcomes like– heightened employee retention, unwavering commitment, workplace motivation, and an overall boost of productivity.

The transition from manager to leader is unquestionably exciting and fulfilling! But it may be overwhelming too. To facilitate a seamless transition, we’ve compiled 5 effective strategies. Let’s explore them!


Setting clear boundaries

Right from the outset, setting boundaries through transparency is crucial. 

With your transition from manager to leader, engaging in upfront conversations about your new role within the team becomes essential. Be open to new suggestions and define explicit approaches for addressing conflicts. Having said that, you need to encourage them to empathise with your perspective as well. 

A winning trait to ensure success? Patience. Remember to consistently check in for ongoing adjustments. 

Also Read
The crucial role of leadership and communication at a toxic workplace

Balance between selflessness and self-centeredness

In his book The Leap to Leader: How Ambitious Managers Make the Jump to Leadership, Adam Bryant emphasises that the central paradox leaders grapple with is the balance between selflessness and self-centeredness.

Leaders who lean towards selflessness prioritise the well-being of their team members and the organisation. They perceive their role as that of a coach, focusing on empowering individuals to cultivate their skills.

This role exists in a duality, involving both your influence and a detachment from self. While you, as the leader, establish the right tone and direction, your spoken or unspoken advice carries a substantial impact. 

It’s all about being aware of your capabilities and the fact that your decisions align with the interests of your organisation. 

Manifest emotional intelligence

While managers are driven by logical reasoning, leaders embody empathy and rank higher in emotional quotient. They exude composure and emotional resilience even during challenging times.

Alongside traditional management skills, a heightened level of emotional intelligence is imperative for leaders to inspire teams. Individuals with strong emotional quotient know how their emotions influence their decisions and actions. Consequently, they excel as attentive listeners to diverse perspectives. According to Bryant– “Listening to people is also the best way to show people that you respect them.”

A study featured in the Journal of Applied Psychology underscores a robust connection between EQ and job performance. According to it, EQ stands as the differentiating factor between those who ascend within an organisation and those who do not.

In the realm of nurturing leadership, therefore, emotional stability serves as a prerequisite for the cultivation of effective leadership.

Also Read
This is how successful leaders tackle tough decisions

Go beyond formal authority

The crux lies in cultivating trust and exerting influence through the development of an inclusive and inquisitive culture among former peers. Convey to your peers that you acknowledge not possessing all solutions and genuinely appreciate their insights and recommendations. 

The greater the extent to which a supervisor is willing to distribute power among former peers, the more substantial their sphere of influence becomes.

Incorporate the changes gradually

With this new chapter of life, you’ll need to transform the existing processes for workflow and communication.

While effective leaders can drive positive transformations, it's advisable to maintain the existing systems during your initial stages. Once you familiarise yourself with the team, you can gradually introduce your ideas into a fresh strategy, approach, or organisational structure.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Success is the culmination of years of effort.