I just got promoted. I’ve been working on a crew for the past 2 years and it has worked out really well. My projects have completed on time and within budget, and our company is growing. This is a
great opportunity for me. What advice can you give me as I make this transition from being on the crew to leading the crew?
Dear Transitioning Tony,
In this industry, it’s common for people to get promoted to become the boss of their coworkers. How you handle the transition is critical to your long-term effectiveness as a leader. Tony, you are wise to seek advice as you make this transition. Overseeing their work can be awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. Keep the following tips in mind to make your transition easier.
IT’S NOT PERSONAL: IT’S BUSINESS
It’s important to have good, friendly, professional working relationships, but it’s not necessary to maintain a “best-of-buddies” attitude outside of work (unless that’s your choice). What’s best for the business may not be best for these friendships. What can you do? Set clear expectations and boundaries, and make sure they’re understood and accepted by the crew. Most important, always make decisions that are best for the business. Yes, be respectful of how your decisions affect crew members, but don’t compromise your personal values to make a popular decision. Remember, business comes before personal.
RESPECT MUST BE EARNED
New bosses are typically selected by company leaders, not the employees they will manage. However, your new position does not command respect; you must earn respect. To do that, be sure to demonstrate exceptional leadership at every opportunity. These 10 actions will help you earn your employees’ trust and respect.
- Be reliable; do what you say you’ll do and follow up.
- Use mistakes as an opportunity to teach and coach.
- Practice humility and give credit where credit is due.
- Be available and approachable to listen and be present when you do.
- Roll up your sleeves and lend a hand when the crew needs help.
- Show you care by humanizing yourself in a way that helps them grow professionally.
- Set clear expectations on the work to be done and hold workers accountable.
- Provide genuine appreciation and recognition for a job well done.
- Treat people as you like to be treated; speak to them as they like to be spoken to.
- Be fair and consistent in everything you do. Any perception of favoritism will tear a crew apart and negatively affect the outcome of a project.
NEVER THINK YOU’VE MADE IT
Congratulations on your promotion, but you haven’t made it yet. There is still much to learn and plenty of work to do to further develop your leadership skills. It’s important to create a professional development plan that includes:
- what you need to work on
- how you plan to work on it
- when you will execute that plan
You already know the why—because you want to have a long, successful career in the construction industry. Implementing these ideas will put you on that path.
About The Author
As a leadership development expert, Randy Goruk works with construction industry leaders to improve employee engagement and business growth. Register to receive his Leadership Tip of the Week at www.LeadersEdge360.com, or contact him directly to learn how he can help you and your team: randy@LeadersEdge360.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, May 2021
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