Cultivating Leaders for the Future: Leaders from Within

Todd Liles
Contributing Writer
Service Excellence Training

Leadership is an important component of all successful HVAC, plumbing, and electrical independent contracting companies.  But a strong and mature leader is one who desires to mentor, grow, and cultivate future leaders that are following in their footsteps.  While recruiting great coworkers is always an important part of growing a company, it is also vitally important that leaders cultivate leadership skills in longtime and loyal coworkers that have been part of their company team through good and bad.  Many times, the best leaders are those that come from within the company and who have been trained through the company. They may not have been at the top of the “business ladder” when joining the company team but they have been dependable, solid, growth-oriented coworkers who have consistently worked to better the company and each team member.

Strong leaders can only emerge in your service company if current leaders choose to cultivate and share their knowledge, experience, and leadership skills.  Growing effective leaders from within your company requires several important steps that work to encourage and develop the mindset and skills of a future leader:

-Emphasize the importance of great leadership, not a title-

It can be easy for an individual to get their priorities out of focus and place more emphasis on a “prestigious title” rather than the importance of becoming a responsible leader—we’ve all done it before.  Current leaders and managers should strive to consistently instill into their team members the importance of growing into a great leader through leading by example, mentoring, sacrificing, and being a continual learner.  These selfless skills make for a respectable leader, regardless of titles or accolades.  When team members have their sites set on growing and developing these selfless leadership skills rather than just attaining a new title, then great leaders are in the making.

-Present opportunities for team members to be leaders-

Opportunities to develop leadership come in many shapes and sizes.  It doesn’t always have to be preparation for a management position; it could be leading, guiding, or training one section of a company team.  On page 62 of his book HVAC Spells Wealth, Ron Smith, explains how he allowed team members to lead training sessions.  By having team members lead training sessions, it allowed them to learn more about the technical issues inside of their job positions. It also grew their leadership skills and their appreciation of responsibility through the process of learning to lead a group and teach their peers. Learning skills such as these are practical life skills as well as proficiencies that every leader should practice and train within themselves.  Starting out potential leaders with smaller and more manageable tasks such as leading a technical training session, allows for more successful growth into future leadership positions because the team member is presented with an exciting leadership opportunity while gradually getting the feel for greater responsibility.

-Encourage team members to grow to their fullest potential-

Leadership is about encouraging others.  A current leader or manager should be a team cheerleader and encourage every coworker to strive to grow to his or her fullest potential.  Surprisingly, a truly great leader will want to cultivate future leaders that are stronger and more knowledgeable than themselves.  Growing strong future leaders requires that current leaders teach and tell about practices, failures, successes, and mistakes that they have made and the important lessons behind each experience.  It is also important that rising leaders are encouraged to grow to their fullest leadership potential in their area of interest and expertise because leadership comes in many forms and fashions.

Part of being an effective independent contractor is constantly recruiting and searching for potential team growth as well as cultivating and growing leaders inside of your company team.  Growing great future leaders requires that current leaders emphasize the importance of leadership, present opportunities for potential leaders to lead, and encourage team members to grow to their fullest potential.

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