Leadership Lesson: Best path to follow to move from manager to leader

Published in the Phoenix Business Journal on December 20, 2019

“You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” Anthony J. D’Angelo, American author, founder of Collegiate Empowerment

Perhaps you already understand the similarities and differences between leaders and managers. If not, learn them. Know the basic principles of leadership. Find a good leader who will mentor you into a leadership role.

Surveying online and other media for the top-sought skills and behaviors of great leaders builds a working list of the ones for you to adopt and strengthen. 

Differences (and similarities) of a leader and a manager

Most leaders are a CEO or in a high-ranking position – but some are not. There are often good leaders throughout an organization, including those who have no direct reports.

Leaders lead by example, not by title or position. Leaders are strategic visionaries and managers are tactical implementers. Managers tend to follow a leader.

In most cases, good leaders are good communicators. Typically, leaders will take the initial step, and managers will follow with the next steps. Leaders align employees while managers organize people and other resources.

The 5 fundamentals of leadership (try searching for more)

While there are many tenets of solid leadership, here are some proven foundations:

  • Grab the initiative to make things better. The alternative is to accept the status quo, which leads to stagnation and failure.
  • Over-communicate (appropriately) to everyone possible – inside and outside the organization. Keep everyone informed and share successes plus challenges.
  • Build and organize a strong team. Select people who have the right skills and behaviors, who fit the culture and are honest, responsible and accountable.
  • Motivate yourself and your employees. Empower each other with generous praise, gratitude, and celebrations. We can mentor, teach and coach each other.
  • Above all, be authentic and your people will support you in all times, including the difficult moments. 

The bottom line

Understand the similarities and differences of leaders and managers. Learn and practice the basic skills and behavior of leadership.

Take action: Various studies note that 75% of good leaders had a mentor. Find one. Especially one who has a successful career as a leader. Follow their advice, teachings, suggestions. Above all, ask for their help. They will provide it.

Click here to read this article on the Phoenix Business Journal site.