While you’re busy pushing tasks their way and asking for status updates, your entry level employees are slowly working toward becoming your next project managers. You know the benefits of promoting from within the company, but are your employees ready for the job? That depends partially on what you’ve done to develop their potential. Here are a few ways you can equip that promising young employee to become your next standout project manager:
Encourage them to communicate well Ever notice that your younger employees are more likely to send an email than walk down to your office to ask a question? The ease and immediacy of electronic communication has made it a go-to, but talking in person (whether on the phone or face-to-face) is still the most effective. If your younger associates seem less comfortable with these interactions, you may need to model it for them. Before firing off an email, give them a call or seek them out in person to discuss what they’re working on. By giving them opportunities to grow their personal communication skills, you’re helping develop a future project manager who is comfortable in that client meeting or leading that conference call.
Teach them to build relationships This idea piggy-backs on encouraging good communication. Maybe you’ve noticed some of your employees hanging back at client events and only talking to the people they know – usually other company employees. Instead of getting frustrated, realize they may not be comfortable talking to people they don’t know well. Encourage them to build relationships by giving them more opportunities to do so. Take them to your client meetings and have them be part of a presentation. Pay for them to join professional organizations and then give them the time away from the office they need to attend networking events. Consider even doing some coaching on how to make the most of these events – intentionally choosing a seat next to someone new, setting a goal to meet five new people, etc. It sounds cliché, but practice truly does make perfect. In order for your employees to become more comfortable and assertive with potential clients, they have to be given regular opportunities to do just that.
Encourage their strengths This piece of advice comes directly from one of our own Division Directors. No matter how much coaching you give, not everyone is built to win projects or manage client relationships. Some thrive in putting their head down and doing the nitty-gritty work the project requires. They’re just as valuable and sharp as your project managers – they just have different strengths. By learning your employees’ personalities, you can help them thrive by creating opportunities for them to advance in your company in a way that makes sense for them. Recognize the strengths of that young employee early on and offer the continued training he or she needs to continue to develop. They’ll eventually become the expert your project managers rely on.
About Foresite Group
Foresite Group is a multidisciplinary engineering, planning, and consulting firm providing services to public and private sector clients nationwide. Our team’s collaborative process results in creative products and services that help our clients achieve their goals. Our team takes pride in enhancing and developing the cities and communities where we live, work, and raise our families.