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The way construction executives view their teams directly influences their decisions. When construction executives view teams as a mechanical structure, they see each individual as an input who hopefully provides the output equivalent to their compensation package. When executives view their teams as something they have built, they often emphasize the time, resources and energy invested in creating what exists. When executives view their teams as living systems, they focus on not just the need to survive but also on the need to thrive and flourish within contexts. 

Often during seasons of change, if construction executives consider their teams to be machines or buildings, there is little opportunity for transformation and growth. However, during times of change, if they view teams as living systems, flexibility, adaptability, and empathy are much easier to integrate into work contexts.

As construction executives view their teams as living systems, they recognize the ability to grow and evolve. What does growth as a people leader resemble? What might evolution look like in a professional environment? Becoming a stronger people leader involves two actions.

  1. A people leader sees the need to expand their ways of thinking.
  2. A people leader recognizes the need to embody essential leadership roles in their environment.

It is really that simple. Indeed, there is the complexity associated with developing a people leader, but explore that complexity over time—months and even years of experience.

When was your most recent leadership development program?

Construction executives have likely participated in leadership development programs over the years. But, have you or your team participated in any programs recently? Recently is a problematic word to quantify amid the pandemic. Since March 2020, U.S. businesses were disrupted in varying ways. During this period of disruption, leadership development is an area that likely received little attention as companies simply tried to survive. 

The World Economic Forum released The Future of Jobs report noting emerging skills for workers in the future involve:

  • leadership and social influence;
  • complex problem-solving;
  • analytics thinking and innovation; and
  • resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. 

These leadership skills are necessities for people leaders in the construction industry. Let 2021 be the year that organizations start upskilling their workforce to thrive in a post-COVID19 environment.

Why is leadership development significant?

People do not change and organizations do not evolve overnight. Leadership development takes time. It requires energy and resources. Ultimately, leadership development impacts greater employee empowerment and engagement in a work context. Gallup research from It's The Manager (2019) shows that engaged teams outperform disengaged teams with 70% fewer safety incidences, 20% higher sales and 40% fewer defects (quality issues).

How will your company grow stronger people leaders in 2021?

As teams begin the year, shift from viewing the team as a machine or built system, and shift toward viewing the team as a living entity. Even during this unprecedented time, construction executives may grow their organizations and teams by strengthening individual leaders. Three steps for organizations seeking to grow include:

  1. Understand the primary challenge or opportunity your organization faces;
  2. Co-create a strategic leadership and learning program for the team; and
  3. Journey together to build stronger people leaders.

Once again, these three steps are simple—yet complex. Indeed, organizations are capable of creating leader development programs internally. Often, organizations benefit from relying on an external partner because of the partner’s subject matter expertise and ability to hold leaders accountable. 

Regardless of whether construction executives create a leadership program internally or externally, let 2021 be the year that you become a stronger people leader. And more so, let 2021 the year that you grow stronger people leaders in the construction industry.

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