15 Tips For New Managers
A construction manager is a much more diverse position than your everyday corporate office manager. Yes, a bachelor’s degree is typically required for both, and that education helps prepare you for your new role. However even with that preparation, your first time as a construction manager can feel both exciting and terrifying at the same time. You must be able to interact with everyone involved in the construction process and oversee multiple projects at once with varying deadlines. This position requires a great deal of flexibility as well as the ability to be a stellar leader. Along with the essentials, we have put together and tailored a collection of the best tips that can help you not only succeed, but thrive in your career as a construction manager.
- Manage Your Time Wisely. Time management skills are a necessity and it is arguably the most important one needed as a construction manager. Being on time for meetings and creating and executing timelines are what will define your career. Having good time management skills translates to others seeing you as reliable and will be more likely to want to work with you again in the future.
- Be Organized. As a construction manager, you will have to meet with everyone involved in a specific project, and that means a lot of paper work, emails, and RFIs (requests for information). Have a system in place that allows you to file everything either physically or electronically (preferably both so that you have a backup if needed), that way you know where everything is at all times.
- Perfect Your Skills. Especially if you are still a student, it is important to really hone your writing and math skills. Poorly written communication and inaccurate math is read as unprofessional. There are different software programs that are now being used to calculate costs of construction projects, so it is important to be able to see any mistakes either you or someone else may have made that the software may not catch.
- Be Informed. As a new manager, you will be introduced to a new crew, set of designers, engineers, etc., and they may need some convincing that you are right for the job. One way to win them over is to know all of the ins and outs of the project, and by staying on top of what everyone is or will be doing to complete the project.
- Establishing Credibility. Yes, it is important to be informed, but a lot of your credibility will come from your previous experience. Part of being a construction manager is working out of an office, but a large portion of it is also having hands-on labor skills. Especially while you are in school, you should try to get at least an internship or a summer job as a general laborer. This type of experience will help you and your construction crew relate to each other.
- Network. Whether you are a student at an internship or working with other contract managers, engineers, designers, and so on, it is important to always build bridges by putting your best foot forward. Say “yes” to any favors asked of you whenever you can, and they will be more likely to go the extra mile to assist you in the future.
- Find A Mentor. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. There have been many managers before you who can offer practical advice based on their experience. Find someone you trust, whose managing style you appreciate, and go to them with any questions that you have.
Interacting With Others
- Introduce Yourself and Be Humble. Too often new managers get drunk with power and forget that they are interacting with other humans. Make sure you let people know who you are, your role in relation to whoever you are talking with, and try not to seem entitled. If there is a certain way that your team is used to doing something, be open to it and make baby steps to change it if it does not match with your management style.
- Have Open Communication. The people you are working with are adults, so be sure to treat them that way. Get to know the employees under you. The more approachable you are the more likely they are to want to do well and accomplish the tasks you have delegated to them.
- Have A Recognition System. If your team is doing really well, you could reward them with free lunch. If an individual’s performance is standing out, make sure to let them know that you’ve noticed and find a way to reward them that they will appreciate too.
- Be Transparent. A team uninformed is a team uninspired. If they are aware of the big picture, and know what others are doing to contribute, it will help them feel connected to the work they are doing.
- Trust Your Team and Coworkers. Once you have delegated tasks and given each individual or group an assignment, don’t hover. No one likes a micro-manager. Of course check in often with the progress of each stage of the project, but too much of your presence can actually get in the way of productivity and make your team and coworkers feel like you do not trust them to do a good job.
- Not Everyone Will Like You. Surely you can remember having a boss you didn’t like. Having open communication with your employees does not make you their friend even if they do like you. Finding the balance between too friendly and too strict is one of the hardest parts of being a manger, but it gets easier once you’ve accepted that you won’t always be liked.
- Be Confident. When someone has confidence in what they do, it shows. If you are unsure, your team will also feel uneasy. Everyone notices confidence, it may be the feature that allows you to stand out from your peers and be recommended for the next project.
- Relax. Construction Management can be stressful, so be sure to set aside some time in your personal life for you to unwind. Your mood as a manager sets the tone for the day. If you are happy and relaxed, that will translate to your team. They will feel more comfortable and be more productive at the job site as a result of your positive energy.
Just remember that you’re human, and everyone makes mistakes. Construction management can be a stressful job, and even the most experienced managers feel overwhelmed from time to time. Hopefully by following these tips, you’ll feel more confident and capable as a new construction manager.