There is a difference between a leader and a manager. Leadership involves motivation and influence; management involves accountability for tasks and progress.
Managers get people to do what they want them to do, perhaps involving a certain amount of inducement. The focus on relationship is lacking. Good leaders, on the other hand, are thoughtful, intentional and adept at building relationships. They inspire trust in their staff.
Here are 4 keys to good leadership in the construction industry:
1. Be real.
Different people may have different opinions of what makes a good leader, but most people want a leader who is real, not one that is always right. If you want to be a good leader, make it a point to connect with the people who work for you. Small things can make a big difference. You should know your workers’ talents and help them find fulfillment in their work. A little effort on a personal level can go a long way. As President Theodore Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
2. Give credit.
Effective leaders realize the business is not all about them and their efforts to make it successful. The workers and teams performing on projects need to get credit for the work they do to help keep the business on track and thriving. If they don’t, their enthusiasm and productivity – as well as their longevity at the company – will suffer.
For good leadership, when things are going well, projects should always be celebrated as a team effort, even if it’s only a team of two. When workers get the credit for successes, they will go above and beyond what’s required of them. In a culture where it’s human nature to take the path of least resistance, this can be a big accomplishment.
3. Set a good example.
In episode 203 of Bridging the Gap podcast, guest Dan Dowdy explained that people emulate others. Thus, the skill of good leadership is caught, not taught. Not only are your company’s core values important, your company culture is a reflection of you as a leader. To keep the entire company on the same page and accountable, post the core values for everyone to see. Every person in the company should be part of your culture process.
4. Use performance metrics.
Good leadership keeps people accountable, and another way to do that is by letting them know what is expected from them. Performance metrics should be clearly stated, written and reviewed. Workers should have a position description and achievement goals to work toward. In the current competitive labor climate, a proactive strategy for attracting and retaining employees is critical. Attention, coaching, frequent feedback, and evaluations are necessary. For transparency’s sake, when there are issues, they should be addressed promptly. In addition, when workers exceed expectations, a good leader ensures that merit bonuses are in order.
The difference between a leader and a manager revolves around relationships. When you are perceived as a real person, give credit where it’s due, set a good example, and use performance metrics, you’ll emerge as a good leader that inspires trust and productivity from your staff through solid relationships.
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