The skilled labor shortage is a prominent problem within the construction industry. However, that is not the whole picture. Not only are people not getting industry certifications or pursuing careers within the industry, but a large chunk of the industry will retire in the coming years. Among these retirees are front-line managers, superintendents and other leadership roles.
These leaders will retire sooner than positions can be filled. Within the next three years, over a third of construction managers are estimated to retire. By 2026, over half of the management workforce will be retired.
This leads to a shortage of skilled craftsmen in every level of the industry. To combat this, the industry has to take steps to fill those roles years before the professionals retire.
It can take up to nine years for a craftsman to reach a leadership position like superintendent; so, craft professionals need to start working toward becoming a superintendent years in advance. By working toward leadership positions early, the industry will have skilled craft professionals to choose from when the management workforce retires.
Bottom line, if the industry wants to fill the roles that will be left empty, they need to start now.
When pursuing a leadership position, craft professionals need to be more than good at what they do. They have to develop progressive leadership qualities and be able to work with their team to accomplish the goals of the company.
Good leaders should follow these practices to ensure the success of their company, teammates and the industry as a whole. If you are looking for a craft professional to fill a leadership position, these are the three things you should ensure the new leader practices. If you are a craftsman or woman looking to work their way up, these are the three things you should practice in a leadership position:
1. Building Trust with Your Team
FMI shares that trust, more than anything drives enduring performance. According to a survey with over 400 senior leadership team members, team trust is the best predictor of team performance.
By taking steps to ensure trust within a team, a leader can count on their team to work efficiently given the task at hand. With trust comes authenticity. When teammates trust one another, they can be honest about shortcomings, successes or areas where they may need some assistance. As a leader, authenticity allows a project to succeed as problems have been worked through, shortcomings have been addressed and each teammate has collaborated on the project.
Another proponent of practicing and building trust is to be reliable. As a leader, it is important to be accessible and ready to help the team. Once a leader establishes that they can be reliable, prepared and helpful, the team will be able to trust them and efficiently work toward a common goal.
When a team is able to demonstrate care and support for one another, they are able to trust one another. By establishing support to the team, a leader is establishing that they care about more than the outcome of a project, they care about the people making it happen.
Trust is proven to be a critical component of success by the Covey Institute. According to FMI, the Covey Institute found that companies who practice trust internally and externally deliver 286% more value to their shareholders over time.
2. Clear Communication of Ideas, Purposes and Goals
This may seem obvious, but it is really important. A good leader must properly convey the ideas, purposes and goals of a team and the organization as a whole. For a team to work efficiently, they must know what they are working toward.
According to FMI, “Without a shared purpose, teams lack clear direction and may spend time, energy and resources going down the wrong path.”
To ensure that the team is working cohesively toward a common goal, it is important that leaders are able to clearly communicate with their team. The easiest way to communicate clearly is to communicate face to face. Additionally, the leader needs to engage each team member in the common goal. Everybody needs to be on the same page and adding equal weight to the team’s core objective.
To get the team on the same page, the leader may get the team together to go over core objectives. As a team, a leader needs to establish a ‘Why.’ Why are we doing what we are doing? Why do we exist? We are working on this project, why? By clarifying objectives and creating a meaningful purpose for the team, a leader is practicing clear communication and putting the team on the right track.
Once addressing an end goal and creating a plan for how to get there, a leader makes sure their team is working toward fulfilling those objectives.
To better the industry and encourage skilled craftsmen and women to join the field, leaders need to practice inclusivity. As the industry looks to become more diverse and as people of color, women and veterans join the industry, leaders need to ensure that the industry is including everyone.
Inclusivity means more than hiring minorities. It means making sure they have a part on the team, making sure they are valued and making sure their opinions have equal weight. By valuing everyone’s opinion and by creating a cohesive, diverse team, leaders allow their team to work effectively while encouraging diversity in the future.
To practice inclusivity, leaders need to be able to identify and fix problems of inequity when they arise. Problems may include unequal pay and benefits, unequal access to training and development opportunities, inconsistent performance ratings and promotion differences. A good leader who practices inclusivity would remedy these problems and remain transparent about the company’s shortcomings and changes that have been made.
Additionally, a good leader will talk about how they value inclusivity and diversity and they will follow those claims with action. By asking minorities for their input and valuing their opinion, promoting diversity internally and externally, recruiting a diverse workforce and limiting bias on performance ratings and promotions — leaders can ensure their team is diverse and inclusive.
Overall, a good leader will ensure that their team is provided with the information and support they need to be successful and efficient. Leaders need to work toward promoting their company and the construction industry as a whole to shorten the skilled labor shortage. As the management workforce continues to retire in the coming years, it is vital for craft professionals to work their way through the industry to become effective leaders who practice trust, clear communication and inclusivity.