Not only do construction leaders need outstanding people management and communication skills, but they also must have an intimate understanding of the industry in order to keep everyone safe. The best leaders are level headed and confident in their judgment, and can react effectively in an emergency. Most importantly, a great leader never compromises safety in pursuit of business goals or in order to meet deadlines.

Beyond the human aspect of workplace injuries, there is a commercial benefit to making safety the number one priority, as every incident shrinks the workforce and can slow down the achievement of project goals.

Following are four essential qualities every leader in the construction industry should possess.

1. Knowledgeable
Construction leaders must have a sound understanding of the industry and all the safety risks involved—not just through book learning, but also through experience. This is non-negotiable; those who perform their duties in a perfunctory manner are compromising the welfare of others. Allocate time for continued safety training, especially for emerging leaders.

2. Meticulous
A leader must be meticulous about ensuring all safety regulations are documented, kept up to date and accessible by all members of the team at all times. Safety procedures must be clearly set out and all contact numbers prominently listed so everyone can act quickly in times of emergency. Safety equipment should be stored properly and checked for damage on a regular basis. Regular maintenance also should be carried out to ensure safety equipment remains functional.

3. Disciplined
Safety should be deeply entrenched in the company culture. A leader must act as a role model and follow safety instructions each and every time. Imagine how employees would behave if they saw the boss breaking safety rules? Additionally, insist that all employees consistently follow safety instructions. Workers should receive an initial warning for breaching safety rules, and a second warning should come with consequences. Don’t let the desire to be liked override the commitment to keeping employees safe.

4. Organized
A leader ensures that all employees regularly and actively participate in safety and emergency training. Stay organized with a training calendar, and conduct regular quality reviews so employees know which areas need more work. Regularly distribute feedback forms to employees, who can then be encouraged to submit their ideas for improvement. A good boss never ignores safety concerns raised by colleagues and employees.

Michala Maly is a PR and digital analyst who works with clients such as Power Step Australia. For more information, visit