PSMJ: How Managers Become Leaders

Posted by Deltek on November 7, 2016

Leadership for AEC Firms

Across all industries, the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) are beginning to retire. In fact, according to PSMJ the AEC industry is at a crossroads: “Baby Boomers are retiring at a faster pace than mid-level professionals are rising to leadership.” (1) This is putting pressure on firms to develop succession plans, identify future leaders within their firms, and to put training plans in place to help these individuals successfully make the transition to leadership roles.

This presents a great opportunity for you to rise to the challenge of leadership!

Are leaders born or made?

There is a common misconception that leadership is an inborn trait.  It’s true that there are some people who are natural born leaders, and others that have no leadership capabilities or feel more comfortable in a follower role.  The majority of us fall somewhere in the middle. Many of us have the potential to lead and, if our leadership capabilities are developed, could become very good, even great leaders. (2)

The faster-growing and more profitable A&E firms realize this and have put formal leadership training programs in place, according to the “A&E Firm Leadership and Ownership Transition Study” recently released by PSMJ.(3)  These firms have experienced firsthand the correlation between effective leadership training and their firm’s financial performance.  In addition to boosting financial performance, many firms find building strong leadership within their firm inspires others at the firm to perform at their peak.

The Transition from Manager to Leader

When you move from a management to leadership role you must learn to navigate a far more uncertain and ambiguous environment.  In the Harvard Business Journal article “How Managers Become Leaders” (4), Michael Watkins describes the 7 Seismic Shifts one goes through in this transition.  One of these shifts is moving from “problem solver” to “agenda setter”.  As a manager you frequently act as a problem solver; as a leader you will be responsible for defining the problems that the firm must tackle.

Many rising stars trip when dealing with challenges like this. PSMJ has been working with firms within the AEC industry for over 40 years.  During this time, they have consistently heard firm leaders say they need a way to prepare their rising stars for leadership.  They have developed tools and training to be a resource to these firms.

A great way to learn more is to attend the upcoming, complimentary webinar with PSMJ and Deltek called: “How Managers Become Leaders”.  In this webinar PSMJ’s David Burstein explores the topic of leadership and provides valuable insights and resources.

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Title: PSMJ & Deltek Present: How Managers Become Leaders

Intended Audience: Individuals wanting to transition from manager to leadership roles, and firm leaders interested in developing rising stars.

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Every successful journey begins with a solid plan.  If you’re an individual looking to step up to a leadership role or a firm leader looking to build a succession plan for your firm - this webinar is a great place to start! Even if you’re not ready to start the process today – you should start preparing now. 

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  1. “Five Must-Have Skills for Future A/E Firm Leaders”, PSMJ Research Inc, PSMJ eBook Series 
  2. "Are Leaders Born or Made", Erika Andersen, Forbes contributing author, Nov 2012 
  3. "The AE Firm Leadership and Ownership Transition Study" PSMJ Research Inc, 2016 
  4. “How Managers Become Leaders”, Michael D. Watkins, Harvard Business Journal June 2012