Progression from Manager to a Business Leader

Managers rely on invention and leaders are eager to reinvent. For many managers, a career move necessitates progression to a Business Leader, but the shift should be self-initiated - a mental upgrade and the role change will follow.


The Manager role tends to be more tactical, focused on delivery, execution, managing team productivity, retention etc. The shift to a business leader role involves learning new skills, cultivating new mindsets, and changes in leadership focus.


Nothing happens without a plan, especially a change which requires shift at multiple levels. Ensure everything on the plan is connected back to the goals and has a direct business purpose, anything added which does not connect back to a goal tends to eventually fall off the list.


  1. Implement to Enable: Shift focus from just your team’s performance results and growth – to what would benefit your company – solve complex organization problems.

  2. Tactical to Strategic: Transcend from just focusing on how to implement organization strategy which impacts your function. Look at the larger picture, but maintain the ability to smoothly dive into the details.

  3. Internal to External: From inward and downward focus to outward and upward focus. Engage your key stakeholders and customers.

  4. Command to Influence: Transition from managing by building circles of power to creating circles of influence. Inspire and mobilize others towards a shared goal.

  5. Arrange to Structure: Finally, the transition from the alignment of roles and responsibilities to Systems, Structure, Models and Design thinking - steps for a business leader to draw the future map.

Constantly expand your horizon to understand your company’s purpose, direction, key drivers, be conversant with all aspects of the business, ensure results, keeping a long-range perspective.