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Leadership in Construction Management for Graduating Students

Working in the construction industry can be highly fulfilling, with access to various opportunities as a construction manager. If you’ve recently graduated from an accredited Construction Management degree program and earned your Certified Associate Constructor (CAC) certification, you’re probably excited to get started in your first role.

One critical element to focus on as you transition from college to the workforce is understanding leadership in construction management. Using the knowledge and insight you gained during your degree program, you can now put those skills to the test in real-world scenarios with real-world outcomes.

But what are the best ways to grow as a leader in construction? What should be your primary focus so that you can work more effectively and efficiently – while always ensuring ethical dealings? Take a look at this guide for how to be an effective leader in the industry.

Leadership Starts with Supporting Your Assets

Organizing schedules, supporting cost control, measuring safety, and handling other day-to-day aspects of a project are key parts of a construction manager’s job. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae and forget the most important resource: your people.

To get things done on schedule, avoid going over budget, and maximize safety and wellness, managers need to pay attention to how they interact with their team and continue learning from everyone around them.

Showing others that you respect their input supporting the scope of a construction project, and demonstrating that you know how to make key decisions will help create a successful work environment.

What Does Leadership in Construction Management Look Like?

Effective leaders inspire and support their employees, yielding better results. It’s important to remember a few key points and build your approach around an open and communicative working style. The three essential touchstones of construction management include the following.

1. Management is getting things done through others. An effective manager knows how to leverage different skill sets and strengths to create a high-functioning team of people that work together cohesively and productively.

2. You need your employees more than they need you. Without your team, nothing will get done. Since it’s your job to delegate and coordinate, not necessarily to do the physical labor involved in construction projects, recognizing the individuals and their concerns will help you do your job more effectively.

3. You get paid for what your workers do. The labor of your employees is what creates the final product that people see, use, and inhabit. No amount of management will build a wall or erect a skyscraper. Treat your workers with respect, and you’ll manage more effectively.

Ethics in Construction Management Leadership

From the outside, construction can be wrongly judged as an industry that lacks integrity, thanks to a few bad actors who bring down the rest of the people giving it their all. As a leader, it’s your job to ensure everything is above board. Demonstrating a commitment to ethics will help improve your reputation in the field while also supporting the industry as a whole. 

Also, employees need to know who and where to turn to in case of an issue. Establishing yourself as a good example will do wonders for your managerial effectiveness.

It’s much easier to trust someone who works hard, supports their team, and does the right thing than someone who cuts corners, talks down to other workers, and lacks respect for the profession and professionals who operate within its purview.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be in a senior management position to be a strong leader who employees look to for support during challenging situations! There are many ways you can uphold the people around you and keep a positive mentality.

If you’re willing to speak up, support ethics, and push for higher levels of excellence, you can be a good leader. Take simple steps in your day-to-day activities to ensure you’re always listening, learning, and growing as a manager and a leader.

What Measures the Success of a Construction Leader?

As a new construction manager, it’s important to know why strong direction and support are an integral part of any company, job site, or team.

Your success depends on the actions and successes of those you lead. If you aren’t supporting them, they can’t support you! But what steps can you take to be a good leader in a team of other construction professionals with varying levels of experience? These three key points will help to build confidence and establish trust.

1. Communication: Talking with your team is the number one action a successful leader can take to establish trust, create bonds, and inspire confidence and good work. Don’t just talk at employees. Instead, hold a dialogue so that they know how important their contributions are to the project.

2. Coaching: After thoroughly analyzing unsatisfactory performances, a good manager will conduct a face-to-face discussion with the employee to change the behavior through suggestions, guidance, and listening. Continued support will help to correct mistakes and keep them from happening in the future.

3. Constructive Criticism: Never spend time shaming an employee that made a mistake. This action often leads to negative interactions, hostility, and a loss of respect. Instead, offer solutions and alternatives that turn a misstep into a learning experience. The team member may not have thought they were in the wrong, so help them realize a new path.

Become a Member of AIC to Grow as a Construction Manager

Ready to learn more about developing leadership skills in the construction field? Consider becoming a member of AIC! You can learn from other professionals with years of construction management experience and have dealt with it all.

You will have ample opportunities to tap into a diverse network of construction professionals who can shed light on various situations you may come up against. You’ll find professionals you can lean on to provide insight into real-world situations and support your growth as a leader.

Take advantage of this exciting time in your career to learn more about leadership in construction management. We’ll help you prepare for success in managing complex construction projects.
We also invite you to follow AIC on LinkedIn. Gain access to regular insights about how to be an effective construction manager in the industry.

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