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  • Jessie I.

Transforming from a Manager to a Leader: 3 Principles to Supercharge Your Leadership Style

Updated: May 30

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Are you stuck in the role of a manager, but dream of becoming a leader? You're not alone. Many professionals aspire to move up the career ladder, but only a handful truly understand the difference between being a manager and being a leader.

The truth is, not every manager knows how to lead. While managers focus on completing tasks and meeting targets, leaders inspire and empower their team to achieve the same goals. They have a magnetic energy that lifts others up and creates a high-performing team.

So, what sets a leader apart from a manager? It's all in their approach to people-oriented principles. These principles not only apply to those in leadership positions, but also to anyone wanting to empower and support others in their team. As Maya Angelou famously said, "At the end of the day, people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel."

If you want to be a transformational leader who inspires, empowers, and supports others while creating a high-performing team, keep reading. In this article, we'll discuss three principles that can supercharge your leadership style and propel your career forward.


Principle #1: Show appreciation for others

What's most important to employees when it comes to their work? You might think it's salary or opportunities for progression, but studies have shown that the number one factor for employee happiness is feeling appreciated for their work.

In fact, a study by the Boston Consulting Group, which surveyed over 200,000 people worldwide, found that being recognized and appreciated for their work activates the same reward-related areas in the brain as monetary rewards do. This is because when we are recognized for our virtues and positive qualities, it reinforces those behaviors and makes us more likely to continue them.

As a leader, it is crucial to recognize and appreciate your team members. Not only will they appreciate the recognition, but it will also reinforce positive behaviors and improve their performance. This is known as the Pygmalion Effect, where people are more likely to live up to the expectations that others have about them.


Principle #2: Focus on strengths

Early in her career, Sarah was a superstar performer. She was technically excellent at her job, and eventually, she was offered a management position. However, once she stepped into the role, she struggled. She realized that while she knew the ropes of her job, there was one missing link – she didn't know how to lead people.

Sarah's experience is not uncommon. Many high performers get promoted to management positions because they are technically good at their job, but they lack the skills to lead a team. While many companies offer leadership training programs, two days of learning is not enough to become an effective leader.

So, what can you do to become a better leader? One important tip is to focus on people's strengths rather than their weaknesses. A study has shown that when we only focus on weaknesses, it demotivates people and hinders their performance. On the other hand, celebrating strengths and reminding people of their value can improve engagement, performance, and productivity.


Principle #3: Make people feel valued

One of the most common traits among exceptional leaders is their ability to make people feel valued and appreciated. When employees feel valued, their loyalty and morale increase, ultimately leading to better performance.

But what does it mean to make someone feel valued? It starts with really listening when someone is speaking to you. Give them your full undivided attention by using your body language and gestures to show that you are engaged. Put away your phone, maintain eye contact, and actively listen without interrupting.

Another way to make people feel valued is by acknowledging their contributions and efforts. Too often, we focus on the end result and forget to recognize the hard work and dedication that went into it. By taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate your team members' efforts, you are making them feel valued and reinforcing positive behaviors.


Final thoughts

Leadership is not about having a title; it's about how you make people feel. Whether you are a manager, aspiring leader, or own your own company, these three principles can help you transform from a manager to a leader.

By showing appreciation, focusing on strengths, and making people feel valued, you can create a positive work environment, boost engagement and performance, and set yourself apart from the crowd. So, set your sights on becoming a transformational leader and watch as your career takes off.

Remember, it's not just about achieving commercial goals; it's about building meaningful relationships and empowering others to be their best. As John Maxwell said, "A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way." So go out there and be the leader people love to follow.

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