How Can Managers Become Leaders?

More and more organisations are asking for their managers to become leaders, however, this can often be one of the most challenging transitions in business. The challenge being to maintain effective working relationships that empower and inspire personal and organisational growth.

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence
and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook

Key to the success of the newly acquired leadership role is relationship awareness. A leader who can treat people as individuals, adopting an appropriate communication style to genuinely connect with each member of their team, will increase engagement and consistently draw out the best in in those they lead.

The good news is these advanced interpersonal skills can be learnt. Starting with awareness and understanding of what drives behaviour, and an acceptance and appreciation of others, leading on to greater relationship effectiveness.


Good leadership starts with self-awareness. Being aware of what drives our own behaviour, as well as identifying our strengths and recognising our weaknesses is the foundation for developing the life skills needed to become a successful leader.


Teams can be a complex mix of people. For a leader to understand a team, they need to understand the elements that make the team – the people. They also need to understand the connections between the elements – the relationships between the people on the team.

Acceptance & Appreciation

Awareness of a person’s motive can make it easier to accept and appreciate why others behave the way they do. An approach that will increase a leader’s ability to enable people to perform at their best, develop a greater range of effective strengths whilst staying authentically connected to what drives them as individuals.


In order for people to make that step change from managers to leaders they need to understand that sometimes the biggest and most effective changes come from changing how they see things rather than just changing what they do day to day. They understand, the purpose and objectives of the team and the results they desire. Then they will build trust, encourage challenge and debate and gain commitment and accountability for the achievement of those results

Through the Strengths Deployment Inventory (SDI), new leaders can discover what drives their own behaviour (their why), their areas of strength, and identify their personal obstacles to effective communication and leadership.

When this enhanced level of self-awareness is attained, they are ready to significantly improve their understanding of their colleagues – whether peers, subordinates or superiors.

By understanding what really drives the team, where their strengths lie and how these elements steer both their behaviour and the way they interact with others, a unifying leadership style naturally develops.

Matt Leighton: A self-described lifelong learner, Matt has a genuine interest in what makes people tick, and how to get the best out of them. One of Matt’s roles at Personal Strengths UK is to keep banging the TotalSDI drum, sharing insightful messages about the HOW of getting people working better together, through sustainable ‘relationship effectiveness’ training programmes using TotalSDI.


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