their new position. Early on, the selected
candidates should be groomed through
extensive training, cross-program
experiences and leadership development.
Strong support systems must also be in
place, including a network of colleagues
to model the way and offer reassurance.
Having mentors and coaches who
monitor progress can reinforce the
training and help cultivate those newly
acquired skills. Through this strategic
process, the soon-to-be leader will gain a
deeper understanding of the leadership
landscape and be better prepared for the
expectations that are sure to follow.
Grasping the Change in Focus
It is imperative for leaders to recognize
that a new role requires a shift in focus,
particularly in the following areas:
1. From Production To Outcomes
The immediate challenge for managers
is to shift their mindset from making
widgets to influencing outcomes. This
is inherent in the leadership process.
As the new leader begins working with
department heads and stakeholders,
they need to operate from a new
perspective—a long-term view with the
realization that short-term milestones are
needed for successful implementation.
The role of the leader is to influence the
long-term, while being fully aware of
what’s needed to achieve the end result.
2. From Specialist To Visionary
Managers thrive as specialists. They have
expertise within their department and a
good understanding of how they function
relative to other areas of the organization.
But that’s not enough for a leader. Leaders
must be able to translate information,
patterns and trends into the language of
efficiencies, profit and direction. Leaders
must harness what is known now with the
trends they envision for the future. An
organization’s future success relies on this.
Vision can be complex and multifaceted,
but nothing can beat everyone pulling in
the same direction.
3. From One To All
Managers typically have the
responsibility of managing staff and
monitoring their daily activities.
Leaders, on the other hand, don’t
manage people as much as they lead
direction. The classic mistake is for new
leaders to over-manage and under-lead.
This can be especially problematic if
there are lingering departmental biases.
Colleagues can help by being patient
as these new leaders become more
experienced in shifting their focus from
managing one department to serving all
4. From Solving Problems
To Anticipating Them
Strictly speaking, managers and leaders
are keen problem solvers. But one of
the finer points of leadership—and
where leaders earn their keep—is seeing
problems before they happen. If a leader
can identify slowing growth or a decline
in earnings early on and proactively
put things in place to avoid potential
downsizing, this not only benefits
the organization but each and every
employee as well.
5. From Worker To Learner
Leadership is not about knowing
everything—it’s about continuous
learning. It’s vital that new leaders make
this shift from a working manager to
a learning leader. Achieving a level of
competency and excellence requires
a desire for ongoing learning. As they
work to cultivate an open mind and
flexibility, they must also demonstrate
a commitment to relentless self-
When developing leaders are hand-selected, cultivated and afforded the
organizational backing necessary for
success, it’s more than an exercise
in succession. It’s a testament to an
effective leadership strategy that
reinforces an organization’s culture.
Over time, this effort leads to the
ultimate competitive advantage. J
Brian Braudis is a human potential expert, certified
coach and speaker. He authored High Impact
Leadership: 10 Action Strategies for Your Ascent,
as well as audio programs on topics ranging
from executive leadership development to stress
management. Visit www.TheBraudisGroup.com
The classic mistake is for new
leaders to over-manage and