5 things that EXPERT construction leaders know.
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
Leadership is the most demanded skill in the market right now.
Not only in construction, but in any field. This article will give you the tools to become a construction great leader. ▶️ The first thing to know is:
This article is not only for the ones who have a managing position, or you've been promoted in a supervisory role. A "leader" is someone who is able to influence the team regardless of its rank or position in the company.
No matter the industry you are working in, trying to be a good leader is an attempt that you can permanently be developing and improving.
These days, there are lots of training and resources to follow in order to contour your skills. Earning a leadership position proves you are morally preparing for taking the responsibility for more than just yourself, but also for your coworkers. And if you've been following our content you already know how responsibility and trust are important for your success.
✳️ For this article, we will consider that you're already a team leader (manager or supervisor.
Since you are reading this, my guess is that you probably want to help the team grow and maintain a strong collaboration as well as a positive working relationship. This being said, the first thing you need to make sure is that the work environment is safe and pleasant for all your team.
Without any further ado, let’s take a detailed look at the leadership skills that are usually required in construction management. After that, I will teach you exactly how to build your own skill set.
1. SMOOTH COMUNICATION
Communication is the first and probably the most important skill a leader should have. Every endeavor or construction leader needs to be able to communicate effectively throughout the duration of the project.
Without any clear communication, skilled workers won’t achieve their best efforts, while the leaders will be misunderstood and will be ill-equipped with the most important metrics.
Poor communication can even completely derail a great construction project and build confusion between the workers and their managers. ✳️ Remember the Babel Tower?
Keep in mind that clear, smooth communication can be the greatest getaway for happy workers and successful construction projects.
But what is actually good communication and how can you be sure you have one?
We don't literally mean you need to understand multiple languages, but you need to adapt so everyone to really understand what you are saying. Therefore, be sure that you use a language that is adequate to each rank, trade end expertise.
For example, if you have a working team formed from foreign people avoid using strong Australian regionalisms and slangs. They will not understand what you are saying, and they will simply end up doing the wrong thing.
If you’re dealing with inexperienced workers, be sure to explain the instructions as best as possible so they can understand what you are saying. But, if you’re negotiating with project managers or engineers, feel free to go deeper into the theory in order to explain your point.
Never use sarcastic approaches, even if you’re joking around. You, as a leader, need to stand as an open person which people feel comfortable talking too, even about the most difficult subjects. As a rule of thumb, be professional, respectful and clear about your expectations as much as you can to everyone.
2. BE POSITIVE, EVEN WHEN IT HURTS
Yes, there will be moments you will need to deal with the upset construction workers, or maybe you will receive some noise complaint from the neighbours.
You might even get bored to offer the construction safety introduction again and again or feel extremely pressured by a deadline.
There is one thing I know. There is nothing more annoying that someone telling you to be happy and you're very, very pissed off.
But the truth of the fact is that you, as a leader, should be part of the solution, and not of the problem. Try, as much as you can, to be self aware and self assess your "negativity" on every hard situation.
A good leader of a construction site needs to have emotional intelligence, which usually focuses on human skills, as well as time management and organisational skills.
But what is emotional intelligence and how can you know if you possess it or not?
First of all, it is not something that you can measure as you can do normal intelligence. To put it in more simple words, there is no measurement for it such as the IQ value. Emotional intelligence relates to the "capacity to recognise and manage personal emotions, as well as the ones of others."
▶️ In order to be able to recognise if you own an emotional intelligence, you should be capable to do at least 4 important skills:
● Emotional awareness - be aware when people around you feel hurt, happy or sad for example. Be aware of these situations even though it is not in your job post as a manager or foreman because it is among your duty as a leader and even more important as a human being
● Be able to identify and name your own emotions. This means that you need to understand what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. Anytime you feel frustrated, be ready to stop and think about your feelings and most importantly about the reason you are experiencing them. Only after doing so, navigate and find possible solutions to your problems. Remember that even though it may not seem so in the heat of every moment, there is no kind of problem that can be solved easier when nervous.
● Being capable of managing emotions includes both yours and your employees' emotions. Be quick to interfere anytime emotions are not being helpful, especially in cases of anger and general frustration because these to can escalate and lead to an unsafe working performance.
● Whatever happens, remember that “it's just a job and nobody will die”.
However, work safe and do your best regardless of the circumstances.
This being said, remember that stress and a lower morale can appear at any moment during the day.
Remember that if you, as the leader, let the stress go overboard, you will most probably transmit it to your workers, since, well, stress is contagious.
Therefore, if you are having a terrible day, the best thing that you can do is keep it to yourself and if you cannot turn it around, at least, be respectful to the other workers.
3. DO YOUR JOB, NOT SOMEONE ELSE'S
But always be there to help.
There are some situations in which micromanagement is necessary at the beginning of a project, but simply as an educational tool.
The true fact is that a leader CAN do micromanagement in order to raise confidence among the team. However, this should be the main reason to do it and not because you want everything to be perfect.
It's also important to understand that mistakes are part of the learning process. Because of that, be sure not to be too emotional about it, nor turn it into the worst possible experience. Just as scholars, workers will learn eventually and all the time spent on their education will pay off.
After the proper instruction, a successful project leader will trust any team, and make sure they have the skills to complete their project just in time. Workers need to have confidence in their leader.
Although it can be daunting to have 100% control over each construction activity, skip the day-to-day minutia. Instead, try to focus more on the result of the project.
What I am trying to underline here is that, a good leader will EDUCATE his workers and then let them do their job as instructed. Furthermore, a good leader will understand that problems may occur, but he or she needs to be aware that every mistake is a lesson learned.
This is why it is so important not to babysit your workers at each step. If you do so, they will never learn on their own.