From Manager to Leader

“When I talk to Managers I get the feeling that they are important. When I talk to Leaders I get the feeling that I am important”

Everyone is talking about Leadership and there is tremendous pressure on every Leader to prove to the Management that they’re doing exactly what the “Leadership Trainings” teach them. Many want to go to programs from Big Brands or Management Schools that give such sessions because of the tag and suddenly get realizations that last for a few weeks or months. But, the social circle demands Leaders to be at their very best to take the organization to the next level. Is that a wrong expectation? Absolutely not… While there are some who cope up and move ahead, there are many who fall behind because of many reasons. One section of those is the First Time Managers who move to a Leadership Role.

Please do not get confused with the words, being a First Time Manager has multiple facets to the roles that people play under that umbrella. They need to Micro Manage sometimes, Empower at the other, behave like a leader at the third instant, and suddenly become a subordinate during the conversation they have with their superiors, who may or may not be as good as they think they are. Faced a similar scenario ever? Well, then you’re at the right place as the next few minutes you spend reading the insights will help you to get an idea of how common mistakes, that you make as people who have entered the Leadership role for the first time, can be avoided. When I conduct the session for clients on “Transition from Manager’s to Leader’s” participants get insights on how can they become leaders and Manage Stakeholders without really having to change their style. Here’s a sneak peek into the module:

  • Common Mistake #1 – Mindset of an Individual Contributor: Have you ever heard these lines, “I used to do it this way and it worked”, “Have you tried this, this has gotten me so much success that this will surely help you”, “Why did you do it this way, this is wrong, it’s supposed to be done like this” and many more? Well, the biggest change here that’s needed is that of a mindset. Many organizations promote people on basis of performance, but forget about potential. Even if they do consider potential, they forget to assimilate the First Time Managers into understanding their role, by saying, that’s what he/she is supposed to know. The transition from an Individual Contributor to a People Manager is the first big shift and that needs some reflective thinking and conscious choice making. I work with participants to make them realize their strengths and help them understand how to get this Mindset Shift done
  • Common Mistake #2 – Focusing on Transaction, not Transformation: “I had given you certain work to be done, have you done it? If not, give it to me, I’ll finish it. You’re the most useless person that is there in my team” Sounds familiar? Well, the area of getting things done from others is something that needs time and patience. Aligning Individual Goals to your aspirations to ultimately find sync with the Organizational Goals is something that you must work on immediately after taking this role up rather than focusing on transactions. I know what you’re going to say next, “Bruhad, this is all philosophy, we have targets to meet and deliverables that need accountability and my team “MUST SHOW” accountability”. Wow, you sound like a true consultant here. While I understand that goals and targets are important, who is going to get them for you? Your team, right? If they are not aligned with you, how will you influence them to do something for you? I answer this question as well in my session when participants get solutions to real life problems and the focus shifts to permanency rather than quick fixes.
  • Common Mistake #3 – Overpromising & Underdelivering: “I will ensure you get a decent raise this year provided you perform like …….. I will ensure that I speak to the Management for giving you due credit…. Do it right now, we’ll figure things out later, I promise you we’ll work on this” I am sure you’re smiling after reading this as you may have either heard it from someone, or may have said this to someone in your teams. Never, ever make the mistake of promising things that are not in your control just to get the work done. People aren’t foolish, they catch every single word and then wait for those words to take shape. Under promising and over delivering is something that you must find out. Being tactfully transparent is an art that isn’t easy to master, but in this module I train you on how to be tactfully transparent for you to ensure you maintain a balance between the management and the employees.
  • Common Mistake #4 – Curbing your natural style: I have seen many first time managers either trying to be over authoritative or under authoritative or trying to something that’s against their management style. While tweaking is needed, changing your natural style is not. This is something that I keep telling people, that the day you change your natural style, you’re inviting disaster. Yes, you have to wear different hats as a leader, but your most natural style is your strength, leverage it rather than curb it. Speak to your teams about your natural style and run an assimilation program with them to figure out the best way to function rather than assume or imitate someone’s style. It worked for them, doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily work for you. In this module, we focus on leveraging strengths and using them to your benefit rather than ask you to become someone else.

There’s a long list of other things that include Decision Making, Managing Meetings, Holding yourself back, pleasing others, Too much detailing, etc. but I cover all these points in the 2-day workshop that I conduct for First Time Managers. To summarize, being a leader isn’t easy and many will want to advise you on what to do, what not to do, which is the best style, etc. but who are you as an individual? Have you ever reflected on your strengths? Your Unique Value Proposition? Your Aspiration? Your Happiness? Well, working on this will not only give you peace of mind but also help you to become a successful leader. Remember “Leadership is not a position, title or designation, it’s an attitude”. Want to become your version 2.0, connect with me to know more. Until next time, Happy Leading!!!

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