Transforming Managers into Leaders

Effective leadership is crucial for the success of any organization. While managers have their mandate in many organizations, those with leadership qualities have become an integral part of human resources. Leadership is a relationship, not a monologue. The relationship between leaders and other involved stakeholders such as employees, customers, and investors is a central issue of strategic importance for the success of an organization. “it has been stated that managers are people who do things right while leaders are people who do the right things” (Baker, 2019). While the distinction is theoretical differentiation of functional responsibilities, these two functions blur since effective managers are also leaders, and most are often required to manage. Characteristics such as personality, analytical traits, communication style, and people skills can distinguish an individual’s suitability for managerial or leadership responsibilities. However, leaders are expected to create a vision and inspire employees to transform their vision into tangible results. In recent times, the rapid pace of changes in most industries means that leadership has replaced the static nature of work that elevated managerial positions need (Naeem & Khurram, 2020). While managers are still crucial, leaders are supreme, and the success of an organization many depends on leadership capacity. Fortunately, managers can transform into leaders by acquiring traits such as communication skills and emotional intelligence, the most significant elements of a great leader, through training and mentorship and establishing assessment systems.


Recognizing the necessity of duality for a leader to lead and manage is significant for any aspiring leader. Great companies can develop outstanding leaders through training. Organizations minimize costs errors by training the proper leadership mindset. While self-acquired leadership attributes from experience are encouraged, training managers into leaders can transform their capability rapidly, an optimal result for the organization’s success. Successful training will enable the leaders to gain the tools to engage with the employees and create the alignment required to achieve personal and organizational goals. Most leadership training considers management and leadership as similar. The failure to differentiate between the two can challenge most individuals in performing both activities and limits the learners to become leaders. In a recent survey, 87% of managers wish they had received more training, and 98% believe the moral employee morale and intention would improve with increased leadership training (Al-Malki & Juan, 2018). An effective training program needs to have fundamental knowledge and skills, understand the difference between management and leading, and be action-based. At the individual level, managers-turned-to-leaders must be prepared to adapt their role depending on the situation.

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Develop soft skills: Communication and emotional indigence skills.

While technical skills are invaluable, soft skills are more critical for a leader’s ultimate success in the contemporary and rapidly changing world. Emotional intelligence and communication skills are the most vital element of a competent leader. Emotional intelligence involves a leader’s capacity to comprehend their emotional state and the emotional state of others (Drigas & Papoutsi, 2019). Here, the leader will need to become self-aware, self-regulated, motivated, empathetic to others, and have social skills. Each of these elements can be developed. On the other hand, effective communication for leaders instills in others an appreciation of the importance of work activities, generating enthusiasm, confidence, optimism, and decision-flexibility in establishing an organization’s identity (Drigas & Papoutsi, 2019). Managers can be trained, self-train, have a mentor, and/or be involved in vigorous human interaction activities that demand soft skill application.

Shift from Specialist to Generalist

Most managers’ success relies on their capacity to lead a single function. Nonetheless, a leader is expected to oversee the entire business function. Managers who shift to leadership positions will be overwhelmed since they may tend to over-manage the function they understand and fail to cater to others. A successful manager who is a specialist can turn into a great leader through rapid generalization to understand all the functions that run the business. As a leader, the new manager must understand how finance, operations, and HR professionals operate and the various tools such as cash flows, customer segmentation, and succession plan(Baker, 2019). An organization can create a talent and function evaluation system to ease the leader’s understanding of what ‘excellence’ means for each function. If the firm does not have such a system, a manager-turned-leader can prepare by establishing relationships with colleagues in other functions learn from them and, so they can establish their templates.

Leadership Styles                                                                                                             

 Numerous explanations, classifications, and theories exist in contemporary literature. As most leadership theories indicate, these styles have been refined and redefined with time, but none is irrelevant (Baron & Agustina, 2017). The type of leadership that is optimal depends on the application context. As and when a need arises based on the organization’s situation and needs or involved stakeholders, the manager-turned-leader can combine one or more styles in influencing employees and the organization in achieving the organization’s objectives. However, some of the integral styles for an organization may include transformational and servant leadership.

Transformational Leadership

The style, which is highly regarded in the modern age, involves encouraging, inspiring, and motivating employees to innovate and create changes for the firms’ future success. Here, the manager must be an example at the executive level (Al-Malki & Juan, 2018). The new leaders can then inspire and motivate employees without micromanaging by learning their strengths and weaknesses and challenging them to take greater ownership of their work. A transformative leader must have individualized consideration, be intellectually stimulating, inspiring, and provide idealized influence.

Servant leadership

The leadership style that originated in the writing of Greenleaf (1970) emphasizes the development and benefits of followers, their community, and organizations. Contrary to the traditional leadership concept, the leader must be willing to serve employees voluntarily and continuously empathize with and nurture them. Here, the new leaders are expected to empower the employees and help them develop their capacity. Employees under the leadership feel motivated and committed to the company’s course.

Measuring the progress and success of leadership styles Transformative

The leading way to measure the progress and the success of transformational leadership is through the Multifactor leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). The survey instrument asses the leadership by identifying the characteristic of a transformative leader and helps the individual discover how they measure up to themselves and those with whom they work (Batista-Foguet et al., 2021). The success of a leader can e measured through retesting program to track changes in leadership style. However, each organization should use well-researched, well-constructed survey models and skilled facilitators to increase accuracy. The tool is advantageous since it compares the perception of the leaders’ style and the followers’ perception giving a more balanced, more accurate reflection of leadership necessary for its success (Batista-Foguet et al., 2021). Here, leaders understand their success and failure and those of their followers and can implement personalized motive development and inspire a vision for the future.

Servanthood Leadership

A servanthood style leader is expected to develop people, display authenticity, value people, provide leadership, build community, and have shared leadership. To date, various instruments with sufficient psychometric development have been developed as accurate measures for leadership progress and success. These tools include organizational leadership assessment, servant leadership scale, leadership questionnaire, and servant leadership survey (Coetzer, 2018). However, the tools must observe the aforementioned characteristics. A successful leader must demonstrate leadership by example, illustrate the significance of the job, encourage collaboration, help the team grow, and have a lasting impact on the organization.

Identifying when a manager is ready for a promotion into a higher leadership position

Companies need to run effective programs that identify and train high potential leaders to gain a significant competitive advantage. When adequately implemented, the program can reduce recruitment costs and turnover and increase the overall effectiveness of company leadership (Naeem & Khurram, 2020). Recruitment, especially for leadership roles, can be highly time-consuming and expensive. Various attributes must be achieved for a company to identify a manager ready for a higher leadership position. The candidate needs to aspire to be in a leadership position, deliver results, and be loyal to the company. Given the significant differences between a leader and a manager, the candidate must illustrate leadership traits. A leader and a manager apply different work approaches, solution mechanisms, undertake different functions in a company, and exhibit different behaviours due to various intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Leaders create visions and establish relationships, while managers create goals and develop systems (Baron & Agustina, 2017). Not every individual contribution is a necessary attribute for a good leader. Research indicates only one in 10 people can be a good leader (Anderson, 2017). To remain competitive, organizations need competent leaders with s sufficient management skills.


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