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March 18, 2020

Leader vs. Manager: Empower Managers to Leap the Gap

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A successful, innovative organization needs more than solid management—it needs inspiring leadership. Blooming from a manager into a leader is an evolution that must be grounded in company values and developed through training and mentorship.

Understanding the qualities of a leader vs. manager is the first step to moving promising managers along this path.

Leaders inspire

A trait that differentiates a leader from a manager is the ability to inspire others to grow and contribute to making the organization the best it can be. Ultimately, leaders create value. They nurture future leaders and even inspire people outside their department and their organization.

To become a leader, a manager must be skilled and knowledgeable in all aspects of their job. Beyond that, a leader must also have a vision as well as the ability to share that vision and motivate others to participate in realizing it.

Luckily, while some leadership qualities are innate, many can be taught or developed through education and training.

Leadership starts with education

Your learning management system is a great resource for shaping potential leaders. In the LMS content libraries, you're likely to find courses focusing on communication, providing feedback, motivating adult learners, managing and resolving conflict and creating strategic business plans.

Some skills, such as negotiation and public speaking, require hands-on practice. Learning solutions that blend virtual and face-to-face learning enable managers to hone these skills. Managers can get a grounding in leadership through LMS courses, then participate in instructor-led training or join a focused workshop to practice and master essential skills.

Leaders don't all follow the same path to the top, of course. Put your managers at the helm of their development by enabling them to design unique learning paths, combining leadership skills courses with in-depth study in their field of expertise, for example.

Mentors play a key role

Mentoring programs are a time-tested way to build leaders. Through mentorships, up-and-coming managers gain access to senior leaders and to perspectives and experiences that guide their growth. They can watch executives in action at high-level meetings and strategy sessions and enjoy the benefits of one-on-one coaching from an experienced role model. If potential mentors are not available on site, video-conferencing tools make it easy to bridge the distance with virtual meetings.

Mentors can provide direct feedback on anything from skill gaps they've noticed to interpersonal communication skills. Coaching sets up younger leaders to successfully tackle assignments that stretch their skills and push them in new directions.

Leaders excel at networking & collaboration

Another key leader vs. manager difference lies in the connections they forge. A leader builds relationships that benefit their team and their company.

One way managers can start making more connections is by attending networking events. These offer the opportunity to meet thought leaders, practice talking with strangers and exchange mutually beneficial information and assistance. A manager who interacts well with others is better able to motivate employees to adopt their vision and to work toward a shared goal.

To nurture collaboration and networking within the organization, the LMS is again on your team. Social learning features encourage future leaders to share their expertise and to connect with other experts in the company, enabling them to build connections with colleagues and to extend their influence far beyond their own team or department.

Support employees' growth

Empower employees at your company to transform from managers into leaders through a blend of LMS-based and instructor-led training. Developing promising managers' leadership skills will accelerate their career trajectory while benefiting the entire organization.

Sign up for a quick demo to see how Absorb LMS empowers today's managers to become tomorrow's leaders.