Leadership In Construction: Skills That Motivate and Encourage Employees

October 3rd, 2022

Being an effective leader is much more than simply telling the members of your team what needs to be done, and sitting back to wait for the results. No, leadership in construction (and other similar industries) is about leading by example.

There are a number of leadership skills that, when cultivated, will make employees respect you as a manager while encouraging them to go that extra mile for you. Keeping loyal employees is harder than it has ever been in this tight labor market so it is important for employee retention to understand what managers and business leaders can do to build employee loyalty.

👉Related: Ultimate labor tracking guide for business owners

Give Employees Your Time, Even When It Is Inconvenient

Of course, many of your employees likely get time with you on a daily basis as you dole out assignments and reiterate goals, but you can do more. If you don’t currently meet with a team each day for a short time, start. For those employees that have a question during the day, cut out the middle man – email or the telephone – and visit them personally. Employee loyalty goes both ways - for someone to be loyal to you, you have to be loyal to your employees.

Get Social, But Understand Your Relationship is Professional

Let the lines of social and work time blur a bit when it comes to giving your employees face time. Though there are definitely times when business-like demeanor prevails, try to break out of that mold occasionally. When communicating with them, remember those little details about their children or what’s going on in their lives. Think of them, just as you would a customer. Showing your personality is also a good way to develop a deeper connection with them and show you are more than just another boss.

Put the Control in Their Hands

Empowering employees can have unexpected benefits. Tapping into their expertise as they are closer to the action can often result in innovative answers to vexing problems. Within certain parameters, encourage and motivate your employees to make their own decisions and bounce their ideas for improvement off of you, and other members of the team. This will not only increase employee loyalty but will also help employees feel satisfied with their jobs and improve company culture.

Use Lunch Time as a Time for Learning

Keeping lunchtime learning sessions fun and informal is a good way to give employees an inside glimpse behind the scenes of what makes the company tick and increase employee engagement. Combining topics such as the impact the business has made on its industry, guest speakers that demystify their role within the company and new innovations in the industry with brown-bagged lunches helps keep employees engaged.

Take Lessons From the Best In Leadership: The United States Marine Corps

While the construction industry is vastly different than the Marine Corps, the principles of leadership the Marine Corps uses apply very well in the tough, physical world that is construction. Here are the 11 principles of effective leadership in the Marines and leaders and construction managers can use them to help take responsibility for a job site anywhere.

1) Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement

The construction industry is not an easy place to lead an effective team. Understanding your own limitations and seeking to improve your own skills in construction will demonstrate to your employees you're serious about the business and expect results.

2) Be Technically and Tactically Proficient

Tactics in the construction industry don't revolve around a battlefield, but they do revolve around effectively planning, coordinating, and assigning team members where they can be most effective. And being tactically proficient yourself means you can expect the same from your employees.

3) Know Your People and Look Out For Their Welfare

A strong leader will make an effort to look out for their employees, especially in construction where a particular project may be very demanding. Looking out for your employee's welfare will also create a stronger bond and encourage employees to effectively solve problems in different construction projects.

4) Keep Your Personnel Informed

No one likes to show up at a construction site ready to work, only to find out that the boss sent them to the wrong site or told them the wrong time. Effective leadership includes keeping your personnel informed of any changes to the job site or work day.

5) Set The Example

If you're not willing to do a task, don't ask employees to do it. A good leader will delegate tasks he understands, and while you can't know how to solve every problem on a construction site, pulling your own weight in the office or on-site is important to gain the respect of your employees.

6) Ensure That the Task Is Understood, Supervised, and Accomplished

Employees should not be afraid to ask construction managers questions about how to solve problems or complete tasks. A culture of fear will result in employees lying about how a project was done in order to stave off the boss's anger.

7) Train Your Marines and Sailors as a Team

Training your employees as a team is an important leadership skill in this technically demanding field of construction. When there is a significant project to complete it's crucial that every worker on the job site knows his or her role.

8) Make Sound and Timely Decisions

The construction industry lives and dies by its reputation in your city. When hard economic times come, the only companies that still have steady work are those that have a good reputation for making timely decisions and following through on their promises.

9) Develop a Sense of Responsibility Among Your Subordinates

Allowing your employees to maintain a level of ownership of a project will encourage them to take more proactive steps to complete a construction project. And by decentralizing "command" of your employees, construction managers can ensure their time is spent on other important tasks, without micromanaging employees.

10) Employ Your Command within its Capabilities

Companies in the construction industry almost always have some limitations on their capabilities. Whether you need to hire a sub, or simply cannot complete a task, do not over-promise what your team is capable of doing. It's almost always better to under-promise and over-deliver.

11) Seek Responsibilities and Take Responsibility

Finally, an effective leader knows that they are ultimately responsible for the success or failures of a team. Do not shy away from responsibility in the construction industry as it is important to set a good example for your team members.

Key Takeaways

  • Take the time to cultivate a relationship with each employee.

  • Carefully constructed social outlets allow those relationships to grow.

  • Show your confidence in employee skills by giving them creative control.

  • Make lunchtime fun, useful, and engaging while building loyalty.

  • Building employee loyalty is a two-way street. Treat and engage employees how you would want to be treated.

  • Use the 11 Principles of Leadership created by the Marines. These effective leadership tips work in any industry.