Why Many of Us Fail to Become Outstanding Construction Managers

Who – This text is written for future construction managers and those who have recently joined the industry. Your story will certainly be different, but if you are aware of potential challenges, you may be able to avoid them or mitigate their impact.

1. We stop believing (in many ways):
– First, in ourselves and our ability to make a difference on the project. This happens when our input and ideas are constantly ignored and when we realize that our involvement in the decision-making process for important issues is often limited to putting together backup documents.
– We stop drinking the Kool-Aid: especially on bad projects being run by incompetent leaders and/or terrible clients (Owners or Owner’s Reps)
– And finally, we stop believing that the BS (old processes, daily finger-pointing, lack of accountability, unnecessary long hours, etc.) we deal with daily is worth it.

2. We are impatient. Our desire for instant gratification can be a very strong distraction if we don’t do anything about it. It gets even harder when there’s a lazy Project Manager 😂 on the job who takes credit for his or her Project Engineers’ hard work (not cool).

3. We think that we deserve to be treated like kings and queens after graduation and fail to pay our dues through hard work. Our lack of focus on learning and our inability to take advantage of opportunities for hands-on training make it seems like we value reward over effort, productivity, and leadership.

4. We blame everyone but ourselves (Of course, it’s easier). Who/What do we blame?
– The system. Ordering materials and dealing with RFIs and Submittals may not be the most interesting work activities, especially after spending a lot of time and money to get an education that is not required to perform those tasks.
– Coworkers: supervisors, other PEs, anyone who disagree with our points of view
– Large projects that push us to do the same thing (such as being the permit guru) for two years (Working on small projects after college can offer more opportunities for hands-on experience as you get to work on multiple aspects of the construction business).

5. We fail to earn the respect of more experienced construction professionals by talking with confidence about what we don’t fully understand and not positioning ourselves in the best way that facilitates knowledge transfer.

6. Our first boss lacks management skills and constantly does things that make us question our decision to join the construction industry (bad starting point).

Agree?

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