Organizations looking to gain a competitive advantage in their industry and increase their bottom-line metrics can look to investing in one thing—their people. In fact, a study titled “Global Leadership Forecast” cited that “companies with quality leaders are 13 times more likely to outshine the competition.” The same study also found that only 18 percent of responders reported strong bench strength, meaning they believe only 1 in 5 leaders can meet their future needs. Instead of waiting to see which employees become leaders, create an environment that develops them into the leaders they need to be.

Here are 7 ways to turn your employees into leaders:

1. Develop leaders early
Begin your leadership development process at the onboarding stage by explaining the demands of management and what personal characteristics your organization looks for in their leaders. Once the demands and requirements are known, employees will either self-identify themselves as someone who can fit that role or stick to their immediate responsibilities. 

2. Educate & Train
Give your employees access to content and educational resources they need to refine their skills or learn more about other aspects of the company they don’t normally interact with. This can be done through internal educational opportunities such as lunch and learns or external resources such as ABC’s webinar series or industry events.

3. Teach them to Network
While networking is often seen as an opportunity to socialize, it’s vital to anyone looking to grow their career and the business. Being social and finding common ground helps to build trust on both a personal and professional level.  Sending employees who might not normally go to industry events or interact with the leadership at the organization can help them build the skills needed to grow their network and improve their elevator pitch. Another way to give your employees the opportunity to network that is through ABC’s Young Professional Peer Groups where emerging leaders in the industry meet virtually once a month with others who have similar job functions to discuss industry trends and challenges. This provides the opportunity to learn from peers across the country but to also build relationships.

4. Let them interact with current leaders
In addition to networking, allow your employees to interact with current leaders, whether it’s internal or external. Understanding how successful leaders have gotten where they are can give younger employees an idea about what type of experience they need and what skills they need to hone in order to be the next leader in the organization. Allowing new and young employees to attend networking and industry events will put them in front of people that they might not normally have access to. 

5. Rotate employee positions
Especially important for employees just starting out in the industry, allowing them to explore the different aspects of the job can spark interest in pieces of the organization they didn’t know existed. It will also teach them the invaluable skill of being able to work across teams and departments. In addition, give them responsibility as they test out the waters in different positions or roles. There’s no better way of learning than hands-on experience.

6. Provide support
While you want to give your employees responsibility and the opportunity to prove they have what it takes to be a leader, it’s still important you provide support when needed. This can be done by encouraging them yourself, directing them to the right person they need to connect with, can giving them feedback.

7. Give them a reason to be passionate
Employees who are engaged and enjoy what they are doing are more likely to be productive, produce quality work and to stay with the company. By encouraging your employees to be innovative, creative and to think outside of the box, you’re helping to find what they’re truly passionate about. Once your employees have found that passion, their authenticity and drive will allow them, and your business, to be successful. 

Have new and young employees in your company that you think have what it takes to be successful leaders? Get them involved with ABC’s National Young Professional program which gives young leaders in the construction industry the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. Visit for more information.