How Great Leaders Mentor and Motivate Their Staff
It’s not enough to have a vision for your company. You, as a leader, must mentor and motivate your employees to see that vision. They have to believe in you and your mission if you want to rise to the top of the industry.
How do you do it? It’s no accident. There are a few things all great leaders do, some of which are especially important to the construction, engineering, and environmental industries.
They Act the Way They Want Their Employees to Act
Forbes refers to it as demonstrating integrity, not just preaching about it. At Arkansas State University, “taking initiative” is one of the focal points of the Engineering Management program. If you want your employees to be kind, respect each other, make decisions, and follow through, you need to demonstrate that in your role as manager.
Research by the Chartered Institute of Building found that construction professionals consider communication to be the most important skill for a leader in the industry. First, it’s important to be able to clearly communicate what needs to be done. Then, you want to make sure you’re maintaining an open, friendly line of communication, so your employees always feel they can speak with you about issues or concerns. They need to find you available and willing to listen with no fear of judgment or ridicule.
They Encourage Growth and Development Among Employees
In a lecture at Monash University entitled The Role of Leadership for Environment and Sustainability, both formal and emergent leaders are mentioned. Formal leaders are those assigned to roles, like project managers; emergent leaders are people who take on extra responsibility and demonstrate leadership qualities. Both are essential to sustainability.
Therefore, as a formal leader, you have a responsibility and an opportunity to nurture leadership in your employees. They will be the ones to help you take the company to the next level. By taking an interest in your employees’ personal and professional growth and development, you show you care about them as individuals, not just as employees.
Forty-three percent of construction industry professionals indicated they were significantly influenced in their careers by a superior manager. What kind of influence do you intend to have?
They Take Responsibility and Give Credit Where It’s Due
Despite your best efforts, sometimes things go wrong. When you stand up and take responsibility for your role in a mistake, it builds trust among your employees. They know you won’t unfairly blame them to save your own reputation.
At the same time, a good leader doesn’t take credit for something his or her employees accomplished. Honoring the work they’ve done inspires them to continue.
No matter what industry you’re in, throughout your career you’ll be working on a variety of projects with a variety of personalities. For example:
“As construction managers are constantly requested to perform a variety of different roles, in different situations, at different times, the ability to assimilate common experiences and apply them to alternative environments is vital to effective project leadership (Gharehbaghi and McManus, 2003).”
Furthermore, that flexibility will allow you to change direction in a given project to achieve the best results, perhaps based on ideas or feedback from one of your employees.
They Show Their Appreciation
A little gratitude goes a long way. Making your employees feel valued is an essential leadership quality. This post talks suggests getting to know your employees and giving rewards for stellar safety records and other achievements, noting that “…showing gratitude for your workers can help your construction company’s bottom line” because, quite simply, happy employees do a better job.
This all comes down to one overarching quality: honesty. When you act with integrity, communicate openly, show your gratitude, and listen to your employees, they learn to trust you. When they trust you, they can follow you, and then you can lead the company where it needs to go.
Michael DeSafey is a leading executive recruiter for professionals in the construction, engineering and environmental industries. He is currently the President of Webuild Staffing www.webuildstaffing.com . To learn more about Michael or to follow his blog please visit www.michaeldesafey.com