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How to be an effective leader in the construction industry

Effective leadership is crucial to the success of any business, Toronto construction lawyer, author and conflict resolution consultant Janice Quigg writes in the Daily Commercial News.  

"But construction, with its web of interdependent activities, has some unique difficulties uncommon in other industries," says Quigg.

“Without strong leadership, a project can quickly derail, resulting in significant losses. ... To create an exceptional construction business, owners need to excel at being both a manager and a leader."

In a five-part series, Quigg explored LEAD — her leadership model that stands for Leading with your heart; Excelling at conflict resolution; Adding value by serving others; and Developing trust.

Quigg, who also used the LEAD model as the basis for a recent TEDx talk, says there has been much debate about whether leaders are born or created.

“I believe that leaders are created when they focus on acquiring the skills necessary to catapult them up to the top of the leadership pyramid,” Quigg writes.

“Leaders, I invite you to reflect on your position in the leadership pyramid and how you might rise to the next level.”

Exploring the “L” for “Lead with your heart,” Quigg says if you want to become an exceptional leader, you need to show your employees that you care.

She acknowledges that leading with one’s heart isn’t usually the go-to leadership style in the construction industry.

In fact, writes Quigg, the idea “is virtually unheard-of in the construction industry. But while some managers and leaders may view it as a weak approach not well-suited to the pressing challenges of the industry, the opposite is true. Research shows that, even in this tough field, emotions are a driving force in employee behaviour.”

She says if you “ignore your employees' feelings, you risk alienating your workforce and impacting productivity. Research indicates that job satisfaction in North America has been declining for some time now.

"Recent Gallup studies have found that people feel more negatively about their work, bosses and organizations than ever before. In fact, approximately 70 per cent of workers have become disengaged, translating into billions in lost productivity annually.”

As a construction litigator, Quigg understands the importance of “Excelling at conflict resolution.”

“I know that litigation is often a cost of doing business these days. In fact, many large construction companies include legal fees as a line item in their budget for large commercial projects,” she writes.

Unresolved conflict comes with a hidden cost — one that can eventually translate into real financial losses, says Quigg.

“If left unresolved, conflict can result in health and safety issues, wasted time, compromised quality of work, loss of talented employees, decreased motivation, less productivity, increased absenteeism which all result in a loss of revenue for construction companies.”

Under “Adding value to others,” Quigg says it’s important for leaders to make the lives of their employees better.

“When you are in a leadership position, you either add value or subtract it from those on your team. The best way to determine this is to ask yourself whether you are making better the lives of the people that you lead.”

And finally, under “Developing trust,” Quigg believes that “trust makes leadership possible.”

“Leaders who fail to develop the trust of their employees will remain at Level 1 of the leadership pyramid because they are leaders by their title and position alone. Employees follow them because they must not because they want to,” she writes.

“As you become more skilled in developing the trust of your employees, you will move up the leadership pyramid and your organization will experience many benefits ... less absenteeism, less sick time, less turnover, increased productivity and profitability.”

Quigg says “Building trust is hard work but worth the effort because, without it, moving up the leadership pyramid is near impossible.”

To Read More Janice Quigg International Inc. Posts Click Here
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