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Transitioning from Manager to Leader - 14 ways to shift your your thinking


The shift starts with awareness – of yourself, your impact, how you’re showing up, the system you're working in, your stakeholders and their needs




There's a list below - 14 ways to shift your thinking from Manager to Leader.




It strikes me, as it's not exhaustive, that it might seem daunting, depending on where you are in your own leadership and personal development. If so, I offer you something that was a lightbulb moment for me:


You don’t have to be the best at everything - just be the best you can be. Competent in some areas, excellent in others.


We each have different strengths and skills - part of being a leader is knowing what those are - building your skills, yes, but knowing when to ask others for help is key. And, it's a really nice way to empower your team in an authentic way.


For example, at home, I'd never put myself forward as the best person to negotiate when we're buying something big. When we went to buy a new kitchen, my husband sent me out of the shop. Apparently, my delighted cry of: "Wow, that's great value!" as an opener wasn't helpful.


And that's OK! You're already a manager and a leader. We all have flaws – and letting yourself be seen makes you a better leader. Vulnerability is a leadership strength; embrace it and you can stop worrying about having every answer and realise it’s okay to be wrong.


14 things to let go of, unlearn and replace:


1) Let go of your reliance on your professional skills

Think in terms of how you help stakeholders and about how to grow personally


2) Let go of seeking recognition and reward for yourself Learn what motivates and drives you and your team, recognise the work and support of others


3) Let go of being in control of every decision Work with your professional team, understand their different skills and strengths, don’t micromanage, set clear direction, roles and responsibilities


4) Let go of purely focussing on goals and measuring progress Build relationships, deliver through people, help your people to understand and personalise the business strategy and vision of the company


5) Let go of keeping things to yourself Be interested in learning from others and share knowledge


6) Let go of working in silo Find ways to build a cohesive team, that works with other teams & make them shine


7) Let go of professional-field-only thinking Broaden your horizons, learn about the business, system, stakeholders & external factors affecting your organisation – use, make recommendations, and share


8) Let go of maintaining the status quo and only updating systems and processes Encourage your team’s innovation, let them you’re open to their ideas and new ways of working


9) Let go of resisting workplace changes (reorgs, mergers etc) Seek to understand, embrace and champion changes that affect your team and help them make sense of it


10) Let go of old limiting beliefs Let yourself be seen, challenge your perceptions & pre-conceived ideas, learn about yourself, and use your strengths to support others


11) Let go of assumptions and talking at people Listen up and speak up! Be an active listener and an effective communicator be understood and be clear


12) Let go of only looking at the current quarter/annual plan Look ahead, Give and receive feedback, and keep your 1:1s, which don’t just cover ‘to do lists’


13) Let go of perfecting your existing skills Be curious, keep learning new skills, make connections with people that challenge your mindset and are different to you, expand your thinking


14) Let go of telling people what to do and how to do it Use situational leadership & different styles – learn coaching skills to support your professional teams to work things out for themselves



My Coaching Philosophy


Working with me is experiential and co-creative. I use a whole person and wholehearted bespoke coaching process that supports and advances your capacity to attain your organisational, professional and personal development aims.

Together, we are partners, guided by mutual trust and respect, working in a space held by me, entirely for you. With me, you will examine issues more deeply, think differently and then define your own solutions. I’ll offer you unconditional, non-judgemental support, challenge and perspectives – to make sense of change and make the successful shift from Manager to Leader.


My personal experience shifting from Manager to Leader


Over 20+ years working for and with organisations, employed and then as a consultant, I made the shift from Manager to Leader gradually, learning as I went, from others I admired (& from those I didn’t!).


I relied on my natural abilities for many years – until I realised, they just weren’t enough! I wasn’t doing myself or the people I worked with justice. And, it was through formal leadership development and coach training and then with individual executive coaching, that I learned the skills I needed to be a better manager and leader – and then to realise I wanted to support others to do the same.


Always, beyond the theory, models and techniques, the most powerful part of the transition from manager to leader and the best way to help others to do the same was becoming more self-aware, getting over myself, getting myself out of the way – and getting on with things.


If this resonates with you, drop me a line and let me know what you're thinking.


x Polly polly@singlestep.uk

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