From Manager to Strategic Leader

Brian Braudis

Senior leadership at the corporate headquarters of a large retail chain was entertaining succession planning. What started out as an exercise turned into a sweeping new protocol for transitioning managers into leaders. For the organization, it’s vitally important to get this right. Managers sometimes trip on their way up. Senior leaders can mitigate stumbling with an effective strategy.

Managers are typically promoted into leadership roles with the thought that their effectiveness will continue, but senior leaders are wise to put into place a two-pronged approach. The first prong is to place the right candidate — the old cliché applies: “Hire for attitude and train for ability.” The second prong is to cultivate the well-selected candidate. This involves extensive training opportunities and environments that promote growth.

Transitioning managers into leaders should ideally start long before the switch is flipped. Early on, candidates should be groomed through extensive training, cross-program experiences and leadership development. Preferably the training, experience and development will culminate by equipping the candidate-leader with a view and an understanding of the leadership landscape.

The context of leadership can be polarizing, ambiguous, volatile and complex. Out of necessity, strong support systems must be in place. A network of…

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"A noble spirit enbiggens the smallest man"

- Jebediah Springfield

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