The MOST VALUABLE Skill in the Construction Industry: Leadership. (Learn the 5 main subskills)
Leadership is the most demanded skill in the market right now.
In this article, we will go in-dept on construction leadership and it's 5 main subskills for you to keep in check even when under the pressure of having deadlines.:
1 - Communicate Well
2 - Be Positive
3 - Delegate as much as possible
4 - Know how to say "no"
5 - Have empathy
And yes... I know it may sound obvious, but putting it to practice can be a challenge that, if overcome, will give you THE EDGE as a construction leader.
*Note that: Leadership was elected as the MOST VALUABLE skill across all industries. Being the master will not only be great for your wellbeing on-site (and your workers') but also for your pocket. I hope that is a good enough reason to hold your interest.
The first thing to know is:
A "leader" is someone who is able to influence the team regardless of its rank or position in the company - you really can be a labourer and a leader. However, for this article, we will consider that you're a team leader (manager or supervisor).
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 skillset.
You must be asking: Who is this guy to give advice anyway?
I'm John Macedo, director of Spades Labour Hire.
Developing and great people is a must for any Labour Hire Company, that is why we take leadership so seriously.
Plus, Spades was built on the reputation of providing labourers and tradesman with a helpful mindset.
We can only achieve that by having active leaders within our company. And now you know where yo go if you need Labour Hire in Sydney ;)
⬇️NOW, let's start ⬇️
1. COMMUNICATION HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE KEY
Communication is the first and probably the most important skill a leader should have.
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 your speech so everyone really comprehends 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 slang. 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, explain things at THEIR level of understanding. NOT YOURS.
▶️Save the more complex language for when dealing with project managers or engineers, when you can go deeper into the theory in order to explain your point.
Never use sarcastic approaches, even when you’re joking around. You, as a leader, need to stand as an open person which people feel comfortable talking to, 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 neighbors. You might even get bored to offer the construction safety introduction again and again or feel extremely pressured by a deadline.
And there is one thing I know: There is nothing more annoying than 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" in every hard situation.
A good leader of a construction site needs to have emotional intelligence, as much as management skills.
But what is emotional intelligence and how can you know if you possess it or not?
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 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 your's 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 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.
5. YES, BUT NO.
Yes, you heard it right. Sometimes, the construction owners will come and say they want massive project changes or will tell you how they have dreamed about some adjustments in the initial schedule.
Sometimes, their expectations for the construction aren’t feasible. If the scope creep appears, and you realise that the owner wants some things that your team cannot provide, it’s time to say “No!”.
▶️Never make a promise that you cannot deliver. This means that whatever you do, avoid being too optimistic about a timeframe. Failing will lose the trust of your clients and your subordinates.
It is your duty to do the best you can with what you've got, and that includes looking after the interest and well-being of your team as well as your superiors. To be a great leader you must be fair to all people.
Try to think long term and, overall, you must have integrity. Therefore, try and communicate in complete accordance with what you believe is the right and fair approach for all involved.
6. BE A PEOPLE PERSON: HAVE EMPATHY.
A job site in construction is a source of stress. Yet, a project leader needs to have the capacity to deal with all kinds of problems and keep the team moving forward, sill motivated.
The leader needs to foster an environment of appreciation, trust, and cooperation.
If you already know much about the construction industry overview, you may know that "Labour" more than just a resource. Unfortunately, lots of construction workers are dealing with mental issues that are increased by drug and alcohol addictions and we should be aware of it.
▶️Construction leaders should take their time to listen to their employees and empathise with them. Especially the ones that are struggling.
If you don’t know how to achieve a happy workspace, make sure you spend additional time in the field of your teams, facilitate feedback and communication and make sure you pay attention to each of your employees.
✅It will not only increase the well-being of your team but overall productivity and employee retention in the long run. It is good for your karma AND for your pocket.
An aspect of team building is also having people communicating with each other and going along well. However, your role as a leader should be to bridge the communication between your workers until they feel comfortable enough with each other and perform as a team.
There are many ways you can do that, but you should just choose the one most effective for your team. Think about what is more likely to make the people you work with more comfortable. Is it a toolbox meeting or a BBQ? Pick the social interaction space that is more likely to make your team open up and communicate with each other.
However, not all scenarios can be happy ones and there are situations in which some members of the same team simply can’t connect and get along. You need to establish some ground rules and confront them if necessary. All workers must be professionals and respectful with each other, regardless of their differences.
How to Become the Best Construction Site Leader.
If you want to become a better version of yourself and be a successful construction project leader, try mastering these 5 top skills.
]From great communication with your team to nice entrepreneurial skills, a construction project leader should have the best interests of his team and make sure they are permanently safe.
Excellence will not happen overnight. Experience is the key, as well as continuous education, mentoring, and a great portfolio of completed projects.
Of course, all the information you just read might sound tricky to comprehend as a possible solution because roughly speaking, there is no training for it. You just have to do it.
✅What I would suggest is to try and exercise all these situations in advance by calmly thinking through the best scenarios. Don’t forget that for a successful approach you need to take into consideration all aspects regarding your company’s structure and also your rank.
The reason I am telling you this is because every company is different so there is no exact science that can be applied. This article is simply a guideline that needs to be interpreted and adjusted to fit your needs.
Don’t be discouraged by the fact that at the beginning you will not be the best leader version you wish to be. It is normal to be in that position. Nobody is born with experience. We all learn from our mistakes. This is why you need to be ready to play the long term game which leadership is all about.
▶️A FREE BONUS FOR YOU!◀️
When a leader speaks, all listen.
Sounds simple right? But we know it's not like that in practice.
Our Free Guide will show you how to properly instruct your workers with a delegation method that never goes wrong.
Labourers and Tradies will: Listen ➡️ Understand ➡️ Execute, flawlessly.
What if you had a smooth-moving project?
Every project manager dreams about projects running fast and stress-free.
But like we've seen above, finding great workers can be a challenge...
Have you ever considered hiring extra workers who are managed by an EXPERT Labour Hire company that will NOT break your bank?
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Thank you for reading.
For more tips and tricks on how to hire and manage your team, keep reading Spades' blog
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