Philie Group Blog

How to Identify Emerging Leaders, Part Two
By Mike Philie

The opportunity that you have as a leader is to help recognize the potential in your emerging leaders and to provide a pathway for their development. These could be junior staff members, department managers, or team leads. Empowering them is crucial for their growth, job satisfaction, engagement, and overall team success.

As I wrote in, How to Identify Emerging Leaders, “you know who they are. They might be related to the owners of the business, they may be clearly identified up-and-comers, or they may not even know yet that they have leadership potential. Almost all companies have them, some just recognize them better than others. Why is this important? The first reason is that with the right opportunities, they could turn into your next stars, and the second reason is that if they do have the potential and you don’t provide that opportunity, they’ll leave and try their luck somewhere else.”

Empowering these people not only benefits them individually but also contributes to a more dynamic and productive workplace. By fostering an environment that values their contributions and encourages their growth, you can help them reach their full potential while strengthening your team.

Just Five Things…

Here are five key strategies to empower your cast of rising stars:

  1. Clear Communication
  2. Provide Opportunities for Skill Development
  3. Delegate Responsibility
  4. Recognition and Feedback
  5. Promote Collaboration and Involvement

Clear Communication

All this begins by fostering open and transparent communication channels where these aspiring leaders feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and questions. Invest the time to clearly define roles, responsibilities, and expectations to provide a sense of purpose and direction. This is one of the many areas that I see left out of the equation. There’s never enough time to spell everything out, or it’s just too hard to put into writing.

Let me ask this question, “Do you have written job tickets in your manufacturing areas, or do you rely on verbal communication?” Yep, I thought so. If it’s important for the efficient production of a job, why shouldn’t it be good enough for the future of an up-and-coming leader? Finally, provide regular check ins or 1:1’s to provide feedback, answer questions, and offer guidance.

Skill Development

By providing opportunities for skill development, you’ll help Identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth. Encourage them to develop their skills and knowledge – raise the bar and provide challenging tasks or projects that allow them to learn and apply new skills while providing support and guidance as needed.

Consider offering training, workshops, or a mentorship program to help them acquire new skills and expand their expertise. A mentor program can really help a person who is new to the company, and perhaps new to the industry.


One area that is hard for many entrepreneurs is to delegate responsibility. Especially if they founded the company, in their eyes, no one is as good as they are and hence a hesitation to delegate. Begin by gradually delegating tasks and responsibilities that align with their abilities and interests. This shows trust and confidence in their abilities.

Encourage them to take ownership of their work, make decisions, and solve problems independently – it will be okay! Don’t forget to provide constructive feedback and guidance to help them improve and make informed decisions.

Recognition and Feedback

Through regular 1:1’s, acknowledge their achievements and contributions. Positive reinforcement can boost their confidence and motivation. Work to provide constructive feedback that is specific, actionable, and focused on improvement, not just criticism. Doing this will encourage a growth mindset by emphasizing that mistakes are opportunities for learning and growth.

Promote Collaboration and Involvement

Lastly, promote collaboration and involvement within the business. Involve junior staff members in team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and decision-making processes. These folks want to learn, they want to be challenged, and they want to be given an opportunity to add their two cents. Their input can bring fresh perspectives and ideas.

Encourage them to collaborate with colleagues on cross-functional projects, allowing them to broaden their network and learn from others. And don’t neglect what’s happening outside of your four walls. Consider opportunities such as the Graphic Communications Leadership Instituteand support their involvement in professional organizations or industry events to expand their knowledge and connections.

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.comLinkedIn or email at

Originally published in Printing Impressions.


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