The terms "Manager" and "Leader" are often used interchangeably. But, they are not one and the same.
A good manager is often lifted up through the ranks as a result of his/her clear ability to manage and oversee day-to-day operations, make decisions that are financially prudent, and perhaps even support innovations that result in clear improvement in how work gets done.
On the other hand, a true leader can often be found throughout the ranks. A natural leader is one who identifies with and buys into the strategic vision of the organization, one who understands his/her role in contributing to and helping the organization to realize that vision, and one who takes the initiative and acts accordingly. A true leader inspires and motivates others, and often finds others seeking him/her out for advice, suggestions and ideas.
Some believe that people are born leaders, and that you cannot "create" leaders. I on the other hand, believe that organizations can implement effective people strategies that accomplish just that--effective people strategies can help to bring out the natural leader in great managers, and in fact, in all employees throughout the organization.
Some tips for helping managers become effective leaders:
*Communicate vision and strategic objectives clearly and frequently
*Involve key managers in the crafting of strategic initiatives--proactively solicit their input
*Clearly communicate expectations for leadership behaviors, and support development of these behaviors with training programs that align with these competencies
*Evaluate managers against these leadership criteria
*Align incentive and recognition programs
Creating an organizational environment that values and encourages leadership, will naturally support leadership behavior in its employees. Harness the talent, commitment, and innovation of your leaders by engaging them in your vision and enabling them to play a key role in bringing it to fruition.