In the Gallup book, Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, Tom Rath writes, “The most extraordinary leaders do not see personal success as an end in itself. They realize that their impact on this world rests in the hands of those who follow.” This is a crucial principle for all leaders—not just those specifically in the construction industry. A leader’s legacy is ultimately called into question with Rath’s perspective. Certainly, there are many ways to build a leadership legacy. One key component to this legacy is a leader’s ability to communicate; but further, to communicate in an intercultural context.

All leaders are communicators. Often in the construction industry, communication is reduced to simply what the marketing department does opposed to the perspective that communication is a tool for all leaders. This view that communication is a competency allows leaders the ability to realize—they can become better at communicating. Leaders can develop and grow in communication effectiveness. Basic components of the communication competency include: verbal communication, non-verbal communication, interpersonal interactions, and intergroup interactions. These basics are areas that construction leaders can improve to best serve their teams.

The advances in technology, business, globalization, travel, data management, software development, transportation, construction, equipment, and almost every aspect of Western society—have drastically changed the course of the construction industry over the past few decades. These advances and changes will only continue to evolve the construction industry. With these transformations, the construction industry is more interconnected than ever before. No longer do leaders need to leave a local context and travel internationally to experience an intercultural context. Now, construction leaders find themselves in contexts where the team is filled with cultural diversity. These intercultural settings require construction leaders to be aware that misunderstandings, misperception, and even misinterpretation will occur during communication efforts. To overcome these challenges, successful construction leaders understand the need for growing in their communication competency to build collaboration in these cultural diverse settings.

As construction leaders look to leave a legacy of leadership, improving communication and understanding the intercultural context of today’s business environment are key considerations to this lasting legacy. Leaders no longer must go to find culturally diverse settings; but rather, simply open their eyes to see their current context.

Questions for Construction Leaders to Unpack:

  • How can you strengthen your communication skills and competency?
  • What intercultural contexts do you find yourself in today?
  • How are you leading your teams and business to better serve the construction industry?
  • What will be your leadership legacy?

About the author:
Sarah Skidmore, chief strategist at Skidmore Consulting, brings innovative business development and leadership practices to B2B markets including: construction, medical and pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and consumer products. Guiding executive leaders, she delivers forward-thinking approaches. Sarah serves as a dynamic speaker at universities, globally recognized conferences, and industry events. Visit www.skidmore-consulting.com, email sarah@skidmore-consulting.com, and connect www.linkedin.com/in/sarahskidmore.

Modern Contractor Solutions, April 2018
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