In the construction world, project managers are the glue that holds each project together. They are responsible for the commencement, development, and ultimately, the success or failure of a project. Between budgeting costs, working with suppliers, delegating tasks, mitigating risks, overseeing quality control, and delivering the final result, project managers need to have a bird’s eye view of the entire operation in order to efficiently meet their goals and satisfy the client’s expectations.
The need for effective and reliable project managers in the construction industry isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the demand is only growing. According to a global study by the Project Management Institute (PMI), it’s estimated that employers will need 87.7 million project management-based positions filled by 2027, with construction and manufacturing being one of the largest hiring sectors.
On a more specific note, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that from 2016-2026, demand for construction project managers in the United States will expand by 11%, which is higher than the average 7% growth expected of most industries. This estimation is partially due to industry expansion and partially due to the fact that baby boomers, the demographic currently occupying most senior-level construction roles, will be retiring from the industry.
The bright outlook for job openings paired with a median salary nearing six figures, construction project management is certainly a financially viable and steadily growing career to look into, two factors that help define job security.
If you’ve been looking into executive construction careers and want to know if project management is a good route for you, or if you know you’re interested and want to best market yourself to potential employers, below are five of the most important personality traits a construction manager should possess:
Strong communication skills are an absolute must for managers in any field, but this is especially pertinent in construction, as there are countless moving parts to keep track of. Miscommunication can delay projects, hinder quality, and in the worst case scenario, lead to insufficient safety on the job site.
It’s the project manager’s job to break down information and relay necessary details to all team members, subcontractors, clients, management, and other stakeholders. The key to success is in the details, so managers have to be extremely scrupulous with how they explain and outline each task.
A successful manager delivers a quality project on time without going over budget, and achieving this heavily relies on getting all parties operating on the same page. According to another study by PMI, over half of project managers cite communication as being the most important factor when it comes to being successful in their jobs, and similarly, ineffective communication is one of the greatest sources of project failure.
Any person who heads a team should have natural leadership abilities, and being able to delegate tasks is a major component of being an effective manager. Successful delegation is more than simply telling team members what to do; it’s about breaking down the big picture into smaller, manageable tasks, and prioritizing those items based on what is most crucial to accomplish first.
Project managers fare best when they play off of their team members’ individual strengths and assign roles and jobs based on who can best accomplish what, as uncertainty over who is responsible for something can lead to chaos on the job site. A solid manager will also take the time to check in on a task before the deadline is due as well as provide consistent, constructive feedback. This allows time for troubleshooting and will help employees understand what areas they need to improve.
Clearly, organization is crucial to effectively running a team, and the better the organization is, the stronger the delegating will be. The project manager has to constantly make sure the scope of the project is in line with the budget, the timeframe, and the availability of resources, and they have to be ready to come up with a new plan at a moment’s notice. This requires an intense eye for detail as well as in-depth foresight.
In a perfect world, construction projects would go as initially planned every single time, but unfortunately, that’s often not the case. Construction project managers need to be able to think on their feet and adapt their plans quickly to accommodate changing conditions in the scope of work.
No matter how airtight a project outline is, there is always room for error, especially in an industry like construction that relies on so many different puzzle pieces cohesively coming together. Unexpected harsh weather conditions, unforeseen budget limitations, issues or mix-ups with suppliers, or delayed client feedback are all situations construction managers have to be ready to tackle.
The faster a construction manager can re-prioritize tasks, utilize alternative resources, and discover actionable solutions, the more likely they are to still meet the expectations and deadlines of the original project.
As a leader of a team, a project manager needs to remind their employees of their common goals and purpose. Construction is hard work, and workers often put in long hours day after day. The more that a manager can motivate and encourage their team, the more the team will feel empowered to keep putting their best effort forward.
Managers who focus on positive encouragement help unite and bond the entire team, which leads to more effective collaboration. In a study looking at how employee happiness affected workplace productivity, results showed that employees were 12% more productive when they were happy.
Small rewards like getting lunch or coffee for the team can be an easy way to express gratitude for hard work, but it really comes down to creating a respectful, positive work environment as well as finding a way to inspire the team even in the face of stress and obstacles.
The amount of possible hiccups during a construction project are nearly endless. Between changing plans on a whim, keeping track of costs, handing out tasks, keeping workers safe and motivated, and communicating with higher-ups and clients, construction managers have to balance quite a bit.
Because there is so much riding on the manager’s shoulders, it’s important that they can stay collected and keep calm in the face of significant stress. A personality that panics as soon as something doesn’t go according to plan or who can’t think straight at the first tingle of being overwhelmed probably wouldn’t fare well in this position. Likewise, a manager who is constantly flying off the handle will create a workplace that is high-strung and chaotic, which, as mentioned above, can put a damper on productivity.
Construction project management is quite an involved position, but it can be an extremely rewarding career path. Knowing that you’re responsible for a project’s success is priceless, especially when the client is happy and your team is proud of their work.
If you have the above qualities and are searching for construction project manager jobs, we can help. We have been placing candidates in highly competitive positions for over 41 years, and we proudly assist our chosen candidates from their first interview until they start their new job.
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