If you are pursuing vocational construction project management, consider some of the best habits effective construction managers must cultivate to be successful in the field.
Communication abilities and leadership work together. A construction manager should have a vision for a project, and be able to define roles and responsibilities for team members so there isn’t confusion on how to complete a job. From day one, the project manager must know his or her end goal and how to best utilize resources and team members’ talents to reach an optimum end result.
From the beginning, project managers have to understand the client’s ultimate vision for a project and set appropriate smaller goals to make the desired end result a reality. Project managersformulate plans to reach those goals and employ the best strategies for the results they desire.
Good construction managers must be strong communicators. You’ll work with an array of people on your team, in addition to upper management and the clients or stakeholders in a project. Become comfortable with going to meetings and buildan ability to convey your ideas clearly and effectively. Your presence on a project will often be essential to keeping it on track, and your communication skills will be a major part of getting this done.
While related to communication skills in many ways, becoming a good facilitator is an art in itself as AIGA, the professional association for design, has explained. With training, a manager can learn how to negotiate conflict, lead meetings, cultivate good team and group dynamics, and encourage creative thought processes. Skills like these enable managers to set up a project—and their career—for great success.
Naturally, to lead a team, a project manager must function well as part of one. He or she must also encourage a collaborative work environment so people’s various communication and work styles mesh well. Project managers help individuals see their role in a big picture, rather than just allowing them to think of themselves as an independent entity.
Particularly on more sizeable projects, managers realize when they can’t extend themselves too far. They delegate responsibilities to trustworthy team members who will be able to handle the tasks they receive. Prioritization is key, and managers must know which tasks are most deserving of their attention at the moment and which can wait until later.
But knowing the big picture isn’t enough. Scores of small parts must come together to make a construction project successful.With large goals in place, project managers have to sort through and handle all the small components of a project without becoming overwhelmed. Fortunately, the manager isn’t actually performing work to create the project, which can make this job a little simpler.
A construction environment can be fast-paced and sometimeshigh-pressure. Strong managers are braced for change, and know that unexpected events happen. They learn to manage several activities at once, even while focusing on more specific issues which must be addressed. They instill confidence in their team, the managers above them, and the client that they can cope with difficulties that arise and still see that a good product is produced in the end.
Project managers aren’t content with what they know right now. They push themselves to learn more, possibly earning a construction management degree if necessary, to see that they have skills and knowledge relevant to today’s industry standard. They understand the many aspects of construction, including engineering, architecture, computer software, cost estimating, and even Spanish (as it’s a first language for many construction workers) to be most useful on the job.
Project managers push themselves to be creative, whether dealing with the details of a project, or trying to handle problems as they arise. They know how to manage not only the intricate portions of their project, but also how to make adjustments along the way to account for any changes that must take place.