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The terms manager and leader are often mistakenly used as if they are two different roles. This couldn’t be further from the truth! All managers must lead and all leaders must manage. But just because someone has been appointed to be a manager, does not mean that person can lead. Not all managers are natural-born leaders.

Being a manager is a role you have earned based on skill and training while being a leader has more to do with your level of influence. A great leader has the power to empower their team and encourages the team to grow and learn.

Because your organization will benefit most from managers who are also great leaders, you should work towards helping your managers to be great managers and great leaders as well. Here’s how:

1. Recognize the Difference Between management and a leadership

A leader is anyone who inspires and encourages teamwork towards a shared goal. People who are not in management roles can be perceived as leaders. In fact, they can be anyone on your team.

While all leaders are not necessarily managers, all managers should aspire to be leaders if they want to be successful in their careers and bring the most value to their organizations.

To encourage your managers to be leaders, you need first make them the difference between the two. Their managerial position only wins them a position of authority. However, it is leaders that employees will look up to and commit to follow, regardless of position.

Many believe that “leadership” is at the top of the organization. Not true.

2. Inspire Your Managers Through Training and Mentorship

There are those who are natural born leaders. Fortunately, to transform managers into leaders, all you need is their commitment to developing their skills and willingness to cultivate their potential through training and mentorship. Great leaders often become that way because they are guided by someone they admire or taught by those who are skilled at passing on leadership best practices.

3. Allow Employees to Critique and Give Feedback

You may want to do this anonymously, but by inviting to offer their insight and opinions on their manager’s leadership style, the manager many sooner recognize their leadership strengths and weaknesses.

Coaching and mentoring benefits employees by allowing them to identify and work on their weak points. And when a manager is made to realize that they may need to monitor their leadership approach based on feedback from the people they manage, they know exactly what they need deficiencies they need to work on.

For example, a manager who is told they are not perceived as approachable by their employees may realize that they need to be more accessible and visible. They may increase how often they conduct coaching sessions so that they spend more one-on-one time with individuals on their team thus encouraging engagement.

Anonymous feedback on the manager may reveal that their team feels they are abusing their authority. And hopefully, a manager who is committed to becoming a better leader will accept this criticism and recognize that they have, in fact, been mishandling their power and will adjust their approach.

The evolution of manager to leader comes naturally for some and can be a challenging journey for others. The key is commitment and recognizing that there is pride in being perceived as a leader. While both roles are earned, being a manager by position can always be stripped from you. Being a leader, on the other hand, is a characteristic that will serve you well beyond your career and positively affect all your relationships, both professional and personal. 

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