Sage Advice US

Leadership: What it means in today’s construction business

I learned early on in my business management career not to confuse management with leadership. Yes, leaders need to possess strong management skills, but true leaders go a step beyond overseeing activities and people. The fact is the world is full of good managers, but it’s light on good leaders.

What are the characteristics of a true leader? There are many opinions, but in my experience, three qualities define a person meant to lead:

Leadership at its best

A good friend of mine just changed jobs and is now working for an electrical subcontractor. In this new company, they value working together to solve a problem. When he goes into the field to deal with issues they say “we’re glad you came out here.” They do barbecues and other company events, not because it’s an expected function but because they really care about the quality of working relationships and work-life balance. The company’s leadership has created a culture that makes each individual feel valued.

Ultimately, leadership is not just about words, it’s not just about action. It’s about building a culture. Unfortunately, many people who start a business lack the skill to scale their personal success into a company culture for success. 

Especially with today’s shortage of qualified workers, building a culture that listens, inspires, and truly values each and every individual is important—unless you want people to depart for a few bucks. I’ve heard of construction companies doing some crazy things to recruit people. To keep your best employees, your leaders need to focus on building a culture where people feel that their work and creativity actually make a difference.

Now is the time to lead.