What you need to know about making the transition from Management to Leadership
Published on October 13, 2020
2 min read.
When someone gets a leadership role in a company, people focus on the increased benefits, the elevated status or the exciting opportunities. However the personal challenges of making the transition from a successful manager to becoming a good leader are not always obvious.
Often, part of the confusion comes from how we interchangeably use terms to describe the roles in an organisational hierarchy - but the skill-set of these are very different:
- Manager – A good manager is capable of organising others to do “something”. They poses a broad knowledge of the business operation and have individuals in their team with the depth of knowledge needed.
- Leader – A great leader is capable of defining what the “something” is that managers need to get delivered. They must be able to quickly understand topics, decide on the relevance and make decisions that can have a significant impact.
So what do they not tell you about being a leader?
Being an expert or a good manager may get you noticed when it come to promotion. However, after you land the new role, the expectations of you can shift dramatically and these new demands can (and do) leave you questioning the wisdom moving up the hierarchy of your organisation.
This is a normal part of adjusting to a new role and most leaders experience this at some point. It helps to have a clear vision of why you wanted this role and keep focused on the long-term. The insecurity may never pass but you will learn to manage it.
When working “in” an organisation it can seem that the day to day operations are constant and dealing with the repetitive nature of this is the challenge.
Moving to leadership roles, the ambiguity of the business world is laid open. Just as you feel you are getting to grips with “the way it is”, there is a new “disruptor” on the block or there is a shift to “Industry 4.0” and it is time to re-think how best to position the organisation.
Thriving in this ambiguous, shifting world can be extremely exciting or very stressful. As a new leader it is important to be aware of the impact this is having on you and be prepared to take action to regulate yourself.
“It’s lonely at the top” is a phrase often used, and for many things this is true. When defining a vision or facing a crisis, the spotlight is on the leader. There is often no hiding place from these decisions and for this reason you can feel very isolated.
That said, no matter how unique your current situation feels, There are other leads who have or are experiencing the same frustrations, concerns and insecurities as you.
The skill of a great leader is knowing when to ask for help and knowing who you can trust for that help. Often we turn the those around us a look for allies which is one good approach, but sometimes a more balanced perspective is needed and you need to consider broadening your inner circle.
Many of the great leaders (in business and beyond) find this through Mentors or Coaches. This is one avenue and you should also consider tour trusted peers and even family and friends (they will keep you grounded).
Everyone needs support, lead by example and know when to ask for it.
Your passion and tenacity have driven you to achieve success and attain the lofty position of being a Leader. What will keep you there is your resilience and self-care strategies.