How to Make the Transition From Manager to Leader

April 05, 2019 0 Comments

By Dr. Paul L. Gerhardt, PhD

For many of us, it is a leap of faith to let go of the familiarity of what we have been doing for a while and step into a leadership role with more responsibility and challenges. Understanding what great leaders do, can help clarify our career path and give us great confidence to make an even bigger difference in the organization we work for. Here are some quick insights that hopefully will help you make your transition smoother or help you to recognize the good you are already doing.

Managers execute, they get things done when the strategy is set and odds are defined. They polish, optimize and improve something that already works. They are great tactician. Leaders, on the other hand make new things happen where there is nothing before. Leaders establish the path forward where none currently exists.

Transitioning from a manager to a leader is dependent on your decision to get better, Leaders are strategic, they create and launch a long-term plan and inspire their subordinate to its achievement. They are Visionary, insightful, influential and inspirational. Every organization needs a great leader to ensure its relevance in different generations. If you desire to make a transition from being a manager to a Leader, here are three solid areas you have to pay attention to.

1. You have to enhance your personal growth. Being a thought-provoking and inspirational leader requires a lot of insight and experience in diverse aspects of life. It requires versatility. Subordinate often choose to follow a leader they can boost of his intellectual credibility and sagacity. Great leaders of old such as Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln were able to inspire multitudes because they spoke with uncommon wisdom and incredible insight. Getting to that level of excellent leadership requires your commitment to personal growth. You have to truly analyze your strengths and weaknesses, your values, interests, emotions and motivations. When you have a clear insight about where you stand, then you can make a new resolve to improve.

2. Expand your perspectives. Another significant attribute of great leaders is their foresight. They can easily predict, draw deductions, and make adequate preparations for what is likely but yet to happen. They are more of strategic than tactical. They think about the long-term implications for all their actions/inactions. Managers often think about the short term, how to improve the quarterly sales, cut weekly costs etc. This is one of the major differences between a Manager and a leader. To be a leader, you must widen your horizons, think about new procedures and processes, test out strategies before there is a need for them and then you will be able to draw out a vision for people to believe in

3. Energize people and relationships. Leadership success is reliant on your ability to initiate formidable teams and development of new leaders. Leaders are more people oriented. They inspire their employees to cultivate habits that generate success. They are able to consistently pinpoint, attract, hire  and promote top talent in the realization of the organizational goals. They build positive relationships with their customers, employees, associates and other relevant stakeholders. The employees see themselves as a concrete and vital part of the organization's plans and they often put their best into each task to strengthen the actualization of the organization's vision.
Making the transition from manager to leader is a process that involves deliberate changes and intentional adjustments. The good news is that by the time you strategically make these moves, you’ll be on your way towards invariably generating great results for your organization and for your career.

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Dr. Paul Gerhardt is a tenured professor of management. He is a diversity and leadership well-respected and trusted trainer who helps organizations get amazing returns on investment. Dr. Gerhardt is the author of several publications available on, including Diversity at Work, The Diversity King; Leadership Lucy and the new upcoming Leadership Handbook. Consider inviting Dr. Paul Gerhardt to do customized leadership or diversity training at your organization. Most organizations find that diversity and leadership training by the right trainer yields a significant instant return on investment. You can get your FREE COPY of the Leadership Handbook by clicking this link:


Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.