Effective leadership in construction – what’s needed?

Leaders in the construction industry carry a great deal of responsibility. They work with £bn budgets, oversee projects that impact thousands of lives, and ultimately decide the success or failure of a project based on their decision making abilities and management skills. And given what’s at stake, failure shouldn’t be an option.

Yet the number of main contractor projects that are completed on time or on budget are few and far between. The reason cited is often unforeseen delays, issues in the supply chain or price increases in material costs. However, a good project manager uses his knowledge and experience to foresee problems and put policies and remedies in place to mitigate the risks. How do they get it right where so many others fail?

Traits of successful construction leaders

Research cites that traits common to successful leaders in construction include: Good communication skills; ability to get results; strategic vision; and a solid understanding of the business. Additionally the ability to listen and working with integrity is what inspires their teams to follows them.

While there are opportunities for leaders to move up the ranks in the construction industry, one of the largely untapped resources for top management exists in other sectors. With the tech industry becoming more involved in construction there is an opportunity for a transfer of skills, and this could prove to be just what the industry needs.

Using tech to support management

BIM has become an invaluable tool for construction leaders, helping them to manage costs and processes from the planning stages through to implementation. Leaders from other sectors who have a sound knowledge of BIM can use their expertise to make construction projects more efficient and ultimately more successful.

Surveying, modelling, and analytics technology can not only help to improve safety on construction sites, it is also introducing a new skill set into the industry. Robotics and drone technology are tipped to become the game changers in the next decade and construction leaders who understand the technology and how it can add value to projects will be the ones making the most impact in the industry.

Despite all the tools available to managers, it’s the ability to get results that will matter most, not just in terms of successful project implementation, but also ensuring that there’s a consistent future pipeline of work and most importantly, that shareholders are kept happy.