Building Leadership From The Ground Up (Ezine Article)

By Terry Bass | Submitted On May 18, 2007

We are all very aware that the vast majority of companies prefer to promote from within, especially for the first levels of supervision/management. There are distinct advantages to doing so since the person knows the organization, product, etc. and provides a positive career path for the individual contributor.

The downside is that very rarely is there any kind of supervision/management training until they reach their new level, if they receive any at all. (You can read my Leadership and the Harry Potter Syndrome article in regards on that subject.) So in effect, we roll the dice, and hope we picked someone that can be an effective leader.

But what if we decided to offer Leadership training from the ground level?

There are some Leadership/Management skills that would not be advantageous to train on, since the individual contributor wouldn’t have opportunity to use them. However, there are skills focused on in virtually every leadership training, such as the topics listed below that could be presented at the ground level

  • Effective Communication
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Teamwork/Building
  • Understanding Goals/Goal Achievement

At the ground level.

Think of a factory floor, office grouping, and any type of work group sans management. Sans because management is at meetings, meetings and more meetings. You have a work group that now has learned to communicate more effectively, have the skills to handle potential conflict issues that arise, understand how to work closely together even across what had been silos and have a clear idea of company goals and are motivated and enabled to get there. Would that be advantageous to the work group, division, company? By providing the knowledge and skills needed to create that positive behavior change, the results would only be positive on a measurable scale.

Also by providing your people with more effective communication and conflict resolution, those type of skills could likely be used at home. An employee with a happier and more fulfilling personal life most certainly circles back as a happier and more motivated worker.

Immediate management

You now have direct reports that communicate better within their workgroup and other areas. They handle perhaps not all, but many of the issues that arise and you have reduced personal conflict. Would this be something favorable for the workgroups immediate superiors? Frankly, I can feel the stress reduction now!

A promotion opportunity opens up. By providing those leadership skills to your people, you can throw away that dice that you used to have to roll. You have a clearer picture of who is a good communicator, can handle those tempestuous issues and even who can learn, adapt and grow with leadership type challenges. The decision becomes clearer and less of a risk. Once promoted, you now have someone who has some of the basic, but highly necessary leadership skills already in place, allowing the new manager to be effective immediately, able to focus on building new skills to support his people and organization.

Win, win, win, win, win.

We are all drawn to those win – win situations. By implementing some of the skills that have been associated with management level to ground level, we create a more harmonious workplace requiring less supervision, problem resolution that will be resolved quicker with less time (and possibly dollars) wasted and an entire workforce focused on the organization’s goals and not standing around waiting for management to point the way.

Creating that environment of empowering your people, giving them the tools and skills needed to be stronger contributors to their workgroup and the organization can only take your people, goals and the companies success to a higher plateau. And it all begins at the ground level.

Article Information

Terry Bass, of CHADONS Resources is a business coach in the ChicagoLand area. He speaks, coaches and facilitates focusing on helping the individual and business succeed. If you can use help for yourself or your organization in identifying, understanding and achieving your goals, then you should contact Terry at 773-769-1992 or and begin the conversation.

You can also visit to learn more.

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