Having a strong leadership development program in your construction firm can be a key element that sets you apart from other companies. Such a program will not only improve the performance of your team members, it will improve your firm’s reputation and help you attract better talent. The goal is to identify candidates and employees who have strong potential for leadership and show signs of having high emotional intelligence, agility, and decisiveness. Here are some steps to build leadership from within your firm.

Emotional Intelligence

When reviewing your employees, look for emotional intelligence. We think of leaders as extroverts, but many of the best leaders are introverted. Introverts often show signs of great emotional intelligence, such as a high degree of self-awareness and a commitment to self-improvement. They understand how their emotions can affect their work and the people around them. This often makes them more successful communicators. Team members who have emotional intelligence view mistakes as a learning opportunity; they don’t overreact or play the victim.


In looking for leaders, focus on an individual’s aptitude, desire to grow, and overall potential. Potential outweighs performance as a factor when zeroing in on a possible future leader. You don’t want someone who has the right skills and experiences but doesn’t have the ability and desire to improve. You want someone who can learn and grow alongside the company.


Great leaders are called to make many decisions; they don’t wait to be told what to do. You should narrow in on individuals who take decisive action, make suggestions for overall process improvement, and always come prepared during meetings and projects. These are the people who know how to get things done. Decisiveness also lends credibility to leaders by demonstrating confidence and responsibility.


Great leaders tend to be agile and flexible. They do not become flustered when there is an abrupt change in direction, and they are able to fill in wherever they are needed. A good way to test prospective future leaders is to give them extra responsibilities or an assignment with a quick turnaround time. You’ll be able to judge how agile they are and how well they can work under pressure—two qualities essential for an effective leader.

To build leadership from within your firm, you need to identify candidates who have leadership potential early on and help them develop the traits that will make them great leaders down the line, such as decisiveness, agility, and emotional intelligence.


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