Seven Qualities of Highly Effective Construction Supervisors.

Seven Qualities of Highly Effective Construction Supervisors.

I’ve worked with some giants of site supervision. This was put together to honour their awesomeness and to pass on the goodies!  A great conversation starter with your project works managers and supervisors or a discussion document at supervisors academies:

1. Supervise like you mean it – it’s not only about the rules. Robust standards combined with ineffective supervision is not a safe and sound system. We need rigorous rules and effective supervision. This is important work. The Supply Chain and Project Leaders depend on us.

2. Remember Job 1 above. Clarify your role. Avoid conflicting accountabilities and Responsibilities. Be focused. Be risk aware. Know what the big issues are, and focus on them. The little issues will take care of themselves.

3. It takes a strong team. – This is complicated work.  The judgements required of supervisors are complex, require experience and a variety of inputs. Encourage constructive challenge. Be flexible. The plan is out of date as soon as the day begins – but the planning process is priceless.

4. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Be forward looking, anticipate problems before they occur, and act effectively. Don’t stand there, jump to a conclusion! – Supervisors need to be able to join dots, based on scarce evidence. If they wait for damning evidence, it will be too late.  Beware of icebergs (little on show – big stuff underneath). Keep digging for information and future impact, don’t stop.

5. Forget trying to make everyone happy. This is not a popularity contest. If you have problems saying ‘no’, you are in the wrong business. (Senior management will go through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) You go directly to Acceptance. Skip the first 4, get on with fixing the problem.

6. Understand motives and drivers. Ask suppliers how they are informed. If you want to understand why people behave the way they do, ask how they are briefed and what is there understanding of the end goal. Caveat – If you want to change their behaviour, change the way they think about results/the project.

7. Take it to the top, before it’s too late. Directors and senior management are responsible for risk governance, not supervisors. Project Managers need to be risk literate, so make sure they are. Now is the time to be fixing risk symptom’s – as the seeds of the next crisis are already being sown.

Paul Fox

Paul Fox has been active as a Construction Industry Performance Coach for the last 20 years and remains at the forefront of Collaborative Working and High Performance Team Behaviours. He disrupts the status quo of individuals, project and senior teams who want exponentially more output with much less struggle.

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