Having a leadership development program in your construction firm can be a key element that sets you apart from your competition and puts you on track for sustained success. Although bringing in talent from the outside has advantages, including fresh ideas and insights, there is nothing like building leadership from within. Talent from inside the organization is well versed with the history, processes, and culture already in place. They are also aware of the firm’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to make more informed decisions. How do you identify and foster the next generation of leaders within your construction firm?

Assessing Potential

Raises and promotions are often given based on outstanding performance and achieving goals. Yet, equal weight should be placed on an individual’s aptitude, desire to grow, and overall potential. Some individuals are not cut out to be leaders, although their performance is at the higher end of the scale. They don’t have the capacity to hold leadership roles, they may lack the visionary ability required, or they enjoy the spotlight so much that they rarely redirect it to others. This is why potential should outweigh performance as a factor when zeroing in on a possible future leader.

A Larger Vision

Part of leadership development is being on the lookout for those employees who have a natural ability to make things happen. They gravitate towards making decisions rather than waiting to be told what to do. Specifically, look for individuals who take action and can speak to how they have tried as opposed to what they think someone else could, or should, do. A future leader will have a tendency to make suggestions for overall process improvement, rather than asking questions to clarify what is expected of them. Future leaders will take the time to be prepared for meetings, projects, and responsibilities. Observe how employees act in a meeting – are they engaged and attentive or distracted?

Flexibility & Determination

Leaders need to be agile and flexible as they are often called upon to light a fire within one group while simultaneously putting out a fire with another. A project manager or superintendent must not be flustered by an abrupt change in direction or by seamlessly filling in where needed – all while still delivering on the core functions of their role. Put your prospective future leaders to the test and give them some extra responsibilities or perhaps an assignment with a quick turnaround time. Can they handle the extra tasks, or do they find it difficult to adapt to the pressure?

Emotional Intelligence

Not all great leaders are extroverts. Don’t make the mistake of gravitating to the loudest talker in the room. Instead, look for those who have a high degree of self-awareness and who take the time to interact with other employees outside of their immediate hierarchy. Future leaders will not be consumed by negative emotions such as fear or victimization, nor do they make excuses for subpar results by blaming extenuating circumstances. When individuals with high emotional intelligence make a mistake, and get criticized for it, it does not send them into an emotional tailspin; they view it as a fact to be noted, studied, and corrected.

Looking for future leaders within your construction firm can be an exciting and worthwhile endeavor. Look for traits such as confidence, nimbleness, emotional intelligence, and focus. When you spot a potential leader, be sure to foster those traits and give them more responsibility and opportunity to help the company grow.

Are you ready to build your dream team?

The Birmingham Group is a tenured construction recruiting firm dedicated to helping you build your dream team. If you are ready to take a proactive approach to recruiting and retention, reach out today to discuss a custom recruitment strategy.