Construction remains a very traditional industry where the wheels of change turn slowly. While the pandemic forced change through remote working and adoption of digital technologies. Now that we’ve moved past that, some business leaders believe that things to go back to the way they were before.

Not surprisingly they’re being met with resistance. Not just on the point of remote and hybrid work possibilities. But because going back to the office often brings with it the old style of management that employees were only too glad to escape. Managers looking over their shoulders, micromanaging every task. No thanks.

Construction doesn’t need more managers it needs better leaders

Management implies that employees need oversight, and to a degree they do. But today’s employees no longer respond to a top-down approach where they’re expected to simply carry out tasks.

In fact, it’s been proven in research that when employees are given the space to apply their knowledge, then productivity, problem resolution and innovation all improve. In other words, giving employees more freedom won’t lead to company failure. If anything, the opposite will be true. To make this happen requires a new approach to leadership.

The changing face of leadership

Of all the leadership skills, you may be surprised at what is ranked as most important. It’s not communication or people skills, although those come a close second, it’s empathy. Simply put, leadership today is about connecting, understanding and supporting.

Connecting employees with the right tools, technologies and knowledge bases so that they’re empowered to do their job. Connecting with them on a personal level so that as leaders, you know what they need and how they operate best.

Understanding the skills they have, what their interests and career ambitions are, as well as what drives them on a personal level. Everyone has a unique perspective on work and what motivates them. Understanding what this is enables leaders to draw on individual strengths and combine them to create stronger teams.

Supporting employees is about giving them space to innovate and take new approaches to problem solving. Giving them a voice to express their ideas and concerns, knowing that they will be heard and that their point of view taken into consideration.

Employees are no longer tied to a company by the job title they have or even the pay. It’s leaders that influence their decision to stay or look for other opportunities. Want to keep and attract the best people? Be a better leader.