Communication skills turning managers into leaders


In this blog I will introduce the concept of Leader Talk Cards.  These cards represent the communication skills needed to make the transition from manager to leader.  Leaders need to inspire, demonstrate expertise and build trust with the team.  Leaders must learn to exercise their leadership through critical conversations that move the organization forward. 

Possibly the toughest transition I made in my professional career was from manager to leader.  I managed a team of students focused on various teaching and research projects and we were very successful.  Then one day, my boss passed away unexpectedly.  The Dean asked me to become the interim department chair.  Suddenly I was the boss—over my friends whom I have known for decades. 

Unfortunately, I was unprepared for the fallout of my new position.  Long-time friends treated me very differently now that I was making department-wide decisions.  It felt needlessly adversarial—like I couldn’t get anything done other than push papers around.  How could I make an impact in this job?

I’m writing this blog to help you learn what I learned in that situation.  And to prepare you to make such a life-changing transition from manager to leader.  What do we know about the transition?  How can we prepare ourselves for this kind of move?  What role does communication play in the process?  My posts will answer these questions and more, helping you make strides in your professional journey to leadership.