Don’t Help Your Managers Become Better Managers. Help Them Grow From Manager To Leader

Don’t Help Your Managers Become Better Managers. Help Them Grow From Manager To Leader

Don’t Help Your Managers Become Better Managers. Help Them Grow From Manager To Leader

In working with agencies and their senior teams, I see them focused on helping their staffers become better communications practitioners and managers. I think instead they should focus on helping them grow from managers to leaders.

Managers to Leaders

Clearly, I’m not suggesting we not help your staffers improve their management skills. That’s a constant.

It’s just that helping them grow into leaders will ultimately have a greater impact on your agency’s success.

Five Things You Can Do To Help Your Managers Grow From Manager To Leader

  1. Help Them Understand The Difference Between Managing and Leading.  Oddly enough, some of them might not have given this much thought before. Some of them use the terms interchangeably, or heard you do so. Remind them that managing is about deliverables, production schedules, budgets, and “getting the train out of the station on time.” But leading is about people and that’s a different proposition.
  2. Teach Them To Give Truly Constructive Feedback. All too often, when we give “constructive critique,” we minimize the constructive part and emphasize the critique! Instead, encourage them to think of this as “constructive feedback.” Feedback that actually builds their relationship with their direct report. (That’s why we call it constructive.) Feedback that builds trust. Feedback that builds the recipient’s ability to do better the next time.  Feedback that encourages the recipient to be open to future feedback from the manager-leader, rather than dread it. It’s only when the recipient is truly open that our feedback can help them grow. If they’re “closed,” because of the way the manager has critiqued them in the past, the manager might as well save their breath and everyone’s time, because the recipient isn’t listening!
  3. Remind Them Of The Proven Tenets Of Effective Leadership. These include articulating values, sharing a vision, establishing trust, being inspiring, having courage, and more. None of these are in the managers’ playbook, but they’re absolutely critical parts of any guide to effective leadership.Managers
  4. Make More Of Their Professional Development Goals About Leadership Than Management.  This is where the rubber hits the road: If you want them to focus on leadership more than management, you’ve got to make it part of their professional development. Make sure their evaluations, development goals, and compensation, is about their leadership performance.
  5.  Lead By Example. There’s no better way to help your team member go from manager to leader than to be the most effective and inspiring leader yourself.  Remember that in all things, but especially in this, what you do speaks much more loudly than what you say. This is especially true for you as a leader. So know your True North of leadership for you and your organization, and live it daily!


What are you doing to help your managers grow into leadership? Please leave me a comment.



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