Leadership in Construction and The Law of Influence
Do you consider yourself a leader in the construction and remodeling industry? Are you in charge of others and their daily activities? Are you in a position of hiring or firing employees?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may make the assumption that you are a leader. And you may in fact be a leader. But, just because you have these responsibilities does not automatically make you a leader.
Leadership in construction is not the result of a title or position. Being given the title or role of a foreman or superintendent does not make you a leader. These are management roles. Titles and positions (e.g. foreman, superintendent, and mechanic) are given while true leadership in construction and remodeling is earned.
In his bestselling book on leadership – The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – Dr. John C. Maxwell states that leadership is influence – northing more, nothing less. He goes onto say that if you don’t have influence that you will never truly be able to lead others. Nowhere is this more evident than in the construction and remodeling industries.
In order to get projects done, a leader must be able to influence his team. Successful leadership in construction is directly related to the leader’s ability to influence those around him. Without influence, the leader has no followers and he is just taking a walk on a project site. Without influence, construction sites fall into chaos and disarray.
“A Leader without Followers is Just Taking a Walk”
Do you have influence in your relationships with those that you work with or who work for you? How are you able to influence others in ways that create long-term positive results?
The right to influence others and practice leadership in construction must be earned. We have already stated what leadership is not. Let’s look at how you can earn the right to influence others by examining Dr. Maxwell’s six factors and how they relate to the construction industry.
Leadership in Construction: How to Becoming an Influential Leader
- 1. Character – are you someone that those around you respect? Character speaks to someone’s ethics and morals. Do your actions match your words? Are you willing to do yourself what you are requiring your employees to do? Are you willing to invest in your peers and those who work for you to build them up or do you tear them down? Your words must match your actions.
- 2. Relationships – do you emphasize building relationships with your crews or do you keep everything at arm’s length? Many managers in construction look at their employees as a means to and end and fail to see them as human beings. If you fail to build relationships and learn about your teams, you will impede your growth as a leader. Successful leadership in construction requires a leader to create relationships and see people as a positive force in their projects.
- 3. Knowledge – do you have knowledge in the area that you are leading in? Are you honest about your lack of knowledge in certain areas or do you live by the mantra that you will fake it until you make it? People will naturally follow those that they believe are honest. And they can tell when managers are faking it. Are you honest with your crews or your teams about your skill sets as it relates to the project at hand?
- 4. Intuition – do you have a sixth sense about your projects and your company? Or are you completely missing the boat? People are looking for leaders who have awareness about them. People want to be around and follow others who they believe “get it”. They respect others who have the ability to sense what is going on around them.
- 5. Experience – there is no way to rush experience. You cannot fake your way through experience. People want to know that their leaders have experience in the area they are following them into. Experiences have to be accumulated over time, but then they must be shared with followers. Use your experience to help train and build others. Allow others to learn from your mistakes.
- 6. Past Successes – we all live through experiences – but our batting average is not a thousand. Since we are not perfect, we have fewer successes than experiences. It is important to share those successes with followers for multiple reasons. Chief among these is that it shows the followers that the leader has the ability to be successful. It has been said that construction is the peace time equivalent to war. Any good soldier wants to be sure that they are following a leader who has been successful in prior battles.
Seek Strong Leaders
You may have heard it said that you manage systems and processes, but you lead people. People seek strong leaders. They typically do not look to be micro-managed. Instead they look for clear direction and a vision for what is to be accomplished on the project. Leaders in the construction and remodeling industry who are looking to develop a strong team should be looking for opportunities to influence people is a strong and positive way in order to build their businesses.
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