From Manager to Leader in Leadership Excellence Leadership Excellence_June_2014 Issue
34leadership excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 06.2014
By Prof Sattar Bawany
Stop doing what’s made you successful
From Manager to Leader
Managers often viewed as task-oriented, and not necessar-
ily focused on their employees. Leaders on the other hand are
viewed as people-oriented; they impact and influence as well
as work through and motivate their employees, utilizing their
resources to perform assigned tasks in the most productive and
profitable way possible.
Many managers confuse management with leadership, and
feel they are automatically leaders because they occupy a posi-
tion of higher responsibility. While this assumption is often
true, many fail to display active leadership qualities. The roles
leaders fulfil are different than those of managers, although
sound management practices are complementary to effective
leadership. While some individuals are natural leaders, most
managers must evolve into leaders both by investing time and
effort in developing their abilities and by adapting their man-
agement roles to a more flexible, effective leadership style.
As an Executive Coach, I’ve partnered with many executives
who have made this transition successfully. There is one piece
of advice I give that sometimes comes as a surprise: I tell people
to stop doing some things that earned them that management
position in the first place.
From Manager to Leader
What makes a leader? Is it a compilation of certain behav-
iors? Is it style? Is it a certain way of communicating? What do
leaders do that makes people perceive them as leaders?
In order to answer these questions, let’s first look at what
makes a good manager. We’ve all had poor managers, so we
know a good one right away. It’s someone who inspires us,
who cares about what we do and how we do it. It’s someone
for whom everyone wants to work - the person who makes the
35 leadership excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 06.2014
group work as a successful team. If you’re lucky enough to be
on that team, coming to work is fun and challenging. You work
hard, but you get results.
Given that description, isn’t a manager also a leader? Are
these not leadership skills? What would keep a great manager
from being seen as a potential candidate for leadership?
Leaders do share many of the traits of a great manager.
They inspire. They motivate. However, leaders take it all a
step further. Leaders are enthusiastic, optimistic and articulate
when talking about plans, hopes and successes. Their genuine
enthusiasm energizes and attracts others. It brings visions to
life. Leaders sincerely believe in what they are saying and they
demonstrate their personal convictions through their behav-
iors. This is what gives them the confidence to make unpopular
judgment calls and to sell ideas that contradict the status quo.
It’s what enables them to inspire others to follow them down a
difficult road while keeping up the group’s morale.
Are there recipe for success for those moving from manage-
rial to leadership roles?
Leaders must identify the right goals, develop a supporting
strategy, align the architecture of the organization, and figure
out what projects to pursue to secure early wins.
Leaders at all levels of the organization must demonstrate
a high degree of emotional and social intelligence in their
leadership role. Emotionally intelligent leaders create an en-
vironment of positive morale and higher productivity and this
would result in sustainable employee engagement. The criti-
cal transitional skills for leaders in transition include having
emotional intelligence competencies in effective relationship
management, cross-cultural communication, effective negotia-
tion and conflict management.
The reality for leaders in transition is that relationships are
great sources of leverage. By building credibility with influen-
tial players, you are better able to gain agreement on goals, and
commitment to achieving those goals.
In the leader’s new situation, relationship management skills
are critical as they aren’t the only one going through a transi-
tion. To varying degrees, many different people, both inside
and outside the leader’s direct line of command, are affected by
the way he or she handles his or her new role.
Transition Coaching Approach
Transition coaching has three overall goals: to accelerate
the transition process by providing just-in-time advice and
counsel, to prevent mistakes that may harm the business and
the leader’s career, and to assist the leader in developing and
implementing a targeted, actionable transition plan that deliv-
ers business results.
While many of the issues covered by transition coaching are
similar to those included in executive coaching, such as sorting
through short and long-term goals, and managing relationships
upwards as well as with team members, transition coaching is
focused specifically on the transition and designed to educate
and challenge new leaders. The new leader and coach will work
together to develop a transition plan, a road map that will
define critical actions that must take place during the first 90
days to establish credibility, secure early wins and position the
leader and team for long-term success.
The transition coaching relationship also includes regular
meetings with the new leader as well as ongoing feedback. Fre-
quently, the coach conducts a “pulse check” of the key players,
including the boss, direct reports, peers and other stakehold-
ers, after four to six weeks to gather early impressions so that
the new leader can make a course correction if needed.
Whether a manager is moving into a new leadership position
or looking to get back on the road to success, transition coach-
ing work to bring out the best in leaders through the support
of a professional relationship with an Executive Coach. The
relationship is built on a foundation of trust and confidential-
ity. The ability of coaches to provide leaders with an outside re-
source that can also act as a sounding board helps them become
the successful leaders they were meant to be.
Organizations must clearly define the purpose of coaching,
gauge the process, and evaluate results. Coaching is not just
about providing support. Ultimately, coaching should deliver
what any business needs – real results. LE
From Manager to Leader
Prof Sattar Bawany is the CEO of Centre for Executive Education (CEE
Global). CEE Global offers executive development solutions including execu-
tive coaching and leadership development programs that help professionals
develop the skills and knowledge to embrace change and catalyze success in