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Blog/June 7, 2013

Leadership Development Tactics for the A/E/C Industry

The A/E/C industry has recently gone through an increasingly difficult recession, forcing most leaders to cut their staff to the bare minimum. What is left of your talent may be close to burnout or underdeveloped in leadership skills. The age-old question we are hearing at FMI is, “How do I develop my leaders quickly?” During the last two decades, FMI’s Center for Strategic Leadership has created a list of best practices for developing your current and future leaders. Through assessing for talent gaps as well as discovering individual areas of strengths and improvements, these best practices can help achieve a more intentional development plan for individuals or leadership groups.

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  • Feedback: Feedback is a way to help others understand what is working and what is not working with their leadership styles. When you give feedback to others, you are providing them with information that will help them become leaders that are even more effective.
  • Mentoring: The mentoring process is an opportunity for an experienced mentor to share wisdom and guidance to a lesser-experienced mentee to assist in advancing his or her life, career and education.
  • Formal Education: Formal education is a way to develop specific skills or knowledge necessary for a leadership position. Leaders have a variety of options to obtain these skills, from attending business school to acquiring business acumen skills to enrolling in trade schools in order to develop technical competencies.
  • Executive Coaching: Executive Coaching is a one-on-one collaborative relationship between a paid professional coach and the client that focuses on equipping the client with the necessary tools to develop him or herself further.
  • Developmental Assignments: Developmental assignments are a great way to help leaders learn new knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) in the workplace. These assignments should focus on helping the individual learn and grow.
  • Formal Assessments: Formal assessments are another way to help leaders gain self-awareness about themselves, their leadership style and the impact they have on others. This development tactic is especially helpful because leaders can identify things like personality preferences, strengths to leverage and areas for improvement.
  • Peer Groups: This leadership development tactic offers current and future leaders the opportunity to learn from different perceptions in the business. Learning from the experience of others is what makes this development tactic so effective.
  • Action Learning: In action learning, organizations task a group of current and future leaders to solve for a real life challenge they are facing. This group works together to solve for the challenge over a period, depending on the extent of the challenge.
  • Formal Training Programs: Training program topics can vary greatly, so it is important to focus the training and education of your leaders on the specific areas where development is most needed.

As a leader of your organization, it is up to you to identify what the right leadership development tactics are for you and your leadership team. Just as development needs can vary between organizations, they also vary for different individuals. Through investing in developing internal talent, an organization can grow its talent pipeline and create a deep bench of effective leaders.

What tactics does your company use to develop its leaders?

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