Construction leaders must possess a variety of attributes, characteristics, and qualities to earn the respect and loyalty of their employees. However, for an employee to become—and remain—a life-long follower, it’s wise for them to develop and refine these three characteristics above all others: caring, communicative, and consistent.
1. IF LEADERS DON’T CARE, WHY SHOULD THEIR EMPLOYEES?
Employees want their leaders to show they care about them as people—their wellbeing and their families—so making a personal connection with each employee goes a long way. They also want their leaders show interest in their ideas, opinions, and future success. Do they care enough to invest in professional development to advance their employees’ careers?
In construction, employees especially want to know their leaders care about their safety. Do they provide high-quality PPE and the right tools to do their jobs—whether in the field or in the office?
All employees desire to be treated with dignity in a respectful environment. The formula to do that is simple: listen more, think more, and act more.
2. IF LEADERS DON’T COMMUNICATE, WHO WILL EMPLOYEES LISTEN TO?
When little or no communication from leaders prevails, chaos, conflict, anger, confusion, mistrust, waste, or something else could follow. Ineffective communication sets up costly problems that can take years to overcome.
Employees welcome these kinds of messages: transparency to build trust/honesty to build credibility/clarity to cut through potential confusion/inspiration to deal with challenging times/timeliness to minimize surprises/appreciation for their efforts/positive versus negative language/understanding, encouragement, and support/being authoritative without being overbearing.
To fully engage employees requires employing a variety of communication strategies. Exceptional leaders become masters at finding the right communication technique for each situation.
3. IF LEADERS ARE INCONSISTENT, EVERYONE NOTICES
When leaders show they care and communicate well, then the key to long-term success lies in their consistent actions. These three areas are highly important to achieve consistency:
Character: Leaders must do what they say they’ll do—all the time. They show character through living the values of the organization. As an example, when employee respect is a value, good leaders treat their employees respectfully in all situations while cultivating a culture that supports this value.
Accountability: Consistently holding themselves and others accountable preserves the leaders’ credibility. They know mistakes are a learning experience, but tolerating mediocrity is not. Not consistently holding employees accountable for their performance can lead to leaders being viewed as unfair and untrustworthy.
Decision-making: Exceptional leaders use their organization’s vision, mission, and values as their guides to making good decisions. Because these values form the foundation of the business, ideally every decision supports that foundation. When a decision does not, employees notice. What follows is confusion and uncertainty about the right direction to take. To guard against this, leaders have to allow for time to think, plan, reflect, and anticipate.
ONE MORE THING
Any leader who doesn’t show caring and doesn’t communicate consistently is headed for trouble. What can set in? A culture that lacks trust, a rumor mill that won’t stop, and a disengaged workforce with high employee turnover.
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About the Author:
As a leadership development expert, Randy Goruk works with construction industry leaders to improve employee engagement and business growth. Contact Randy directly to learn how he can help you and your team: randy@LeadersEdge360.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, February 2022
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