Every successful business needs the competencies of a manager and leader to run day-to-day operations. Managers establish work rules, processes, and standard procedures.
In comparison, leaders give companies a vision, challenge their status quo, and inspire employees to think outside the box. They encourage staff to use their creativity and motivate them to improve workflows. Precisely, leaders know how to get the most out of the workforce.
So, do you have what it takes to become a leader? Although managing and leadership require a different skillset, great managers can become successful leaders. To become a successful leader however, you will have to brush up on your leadership skills and learn the modern-day workplace’s ins and outs. After all, having industry and geopolitical know-how is crucial for emerging leaders to thrive in the corporate world.
As a manager, you also have to equip yourself with competent leadership skills such as problem-solving, communication, and negotiation skills. These skills will help you make complex business decisions across all organizational facets and help you manage the company more efficiently.
If you are ready to enhance your skill set and broaden your knowledge, you should consider enrolling in online executive education to explore the connection between organization functions and elevate your leadership skills.
You will also learn how to develop a competitive strategy, make decisions under constraints, and analyze the company’s financial position. Once you have proficient knowledge and expertise under your belt, feel free to start your journey as a leader. Here we are listing the steps you need to take to transition into a leadership role.
1. Apply Analytical Problem-Solving
Managers deal with workplace conflicts and apply their problem-solving skills to offer solutions. However, things would be different when you step into the shoes of a leader. You will have to apply ‘analytical’ problem-solving skills to provide rational solutions and make complex business decisions. Do you have analytical skills? If not, you can build them through learning, practice, and experience. Here are some tips to help you out.
• You can only make a realistic analysis when you have enough information available. Hence, collect data from different sources – employees, customers, industry specialists – to make logical decisions.
• As markets, technologies, and customer expectations change over time, you have to make data-driven decisions. Thus, learn about evolving industry trends and keep an open mind to pick up various subjects.
• Lastly, you should know how to apply broad generalizations from specific observations. This will enable you to make accurate business predictions and anticipate trends.
2. Value Feedback Culture
Mostly, people don’t consider their own performances when they are already working in an executive position. However, to grow as a leader, you should value a feedback culture in the organization.
In addition to giving feedback to employees, you can ask for their feedback on your performance and organizational principles. It would provide rich insights into your work while identifying potential weaknesses at the same time. Perhaps, employees might think you have an authoritative tone, or there could be discrepancies with task delegation.
Besides this, allow your team to voice their opinions, discuss challenges, and bring innovative ideas to the company. It fosters employee engagement and encourages them to participate in business activities proactively. Believe it or not, this continuous exchange of feedback helps the entire organization grow as a unit, boosting overall productivity levels.
3. Add Purpose to Work
Generally, managers take orders from the executives that they report to. Thus, they have no input when it comes to the company’s vision or mission. However, leaders foster a sense of purpose in the company and direct everyone towards the same goal. They act as a motivator in the workplace, influence employees, and share their opinions about the company.
Therefore, learn to create a sense of purpose in the workplace. You can help employees connect the dots and motivate them to engage with their jobs.
Similarly, if employees are working hard to meet a strict deadline or complete a project, inspire them to achieve the goal. Explain how the additional revenue from the project will help the organization offer better health insurance benefits. Remember, the purpose you are using should be true because leaders are always honest. Hence, never make a promise you can’t fulfill.
4. Understand Time Value of Money
Unsurprisingly, time is an extremely valuable resource that cannot be recovered if wasted. Hence, one of the crucial aspects of becoming a leader is to manage time efficiently. You should know where to spend your time and which areas will benefit the most from it in terms of ROI.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to make decisions in the spur of the moment. You should first understand the complexity of decisions, gather facts, and then develop competitive strategies to make the company thrive.
Moreover, the concept of the time value of money also applies to financial decisions. If the company is issuing bonds with a maturity of 20 years, leaders must discern their future worth. It means you should have a keen understanding of inflation and interest rates and adjust prices accordingly to secure the company’s future.
After all, the value of money you have now won’t be the same in the future. And when leaders know how to determine the time value of money, they can incur investments that yield high returns.
5. Establish Ethical Integrity
As a manager, you didn’t have to worry about ensuring ethical regulations or corporate social responsibility. Well, the role of leadership brings its fair share of increased responsibilities. In today’s social media-driven world, leaders are well-known for their moral principles and ethics.
Therefore, you have to become a leader with strong ethical beliefs, values, and dignity. You have to demonstrate good values through words and actions.
Most importantly, set aside your biases regarding any religion, race, or gender. Nowadays, the workforce is more diverse, and only an open-minded leader can maintain a healthy relationship with workers.
Furthermore, you have to ensure your company is not damaging the environment under any circumstances. Avoid using plastic in the workplace, dispose of waste properly, and provide healthy working conditions. Similarly, if you are operating in the industrial sector, use renewable energy and reduce greenhouse emissions.
The switch from manager to leader can be quite exciting but managing and running a business are two different things. Managers need more than conventional communication and operational skills to become a leader. You have to understand leaders’ roles and responsibilities, learn leadership skills, and develop competencies to run the company.
Likewise, remain transparent in all business dealings and add purpose to work to motivate employees. This transition might seem overwhelming, but gradually, you will emerge as a successful leader.