Construction project managers often have to stand their ground when working with clients, supervisors, and crews. This doesn’t mean we take the my way or the highway stance; it means that everyone has opinions and sometimes we have to stick with our tried and true process regardless of outside influence. You may have a supervisor or crew member offer a faster way of doing something, but the quality would suffer slightly. Stand your ground and don’t sacrifice quality.
Never Apologize for the Standards You Set for Your Work
Set standards for your work and for the workmanship you represent. You will be working with the client face to face. Your work has to meet many expectations, including your own. Allowing someone to convince you that another way is better means you veer away from your own standards for your work. It compromises everything you’ve worked for.
Be Assertive, Not Aggressive
Standing your ground doesn’t mean you have to be aggressive, but you must sometimes be assertive. People will try to push their way through a conversation. They may interrupt you while you’re talking or explaining something. This person may be the client, a supervisor, or a worker on the crew. They may have valid points, but you need to let them know right away that interrupting you is not the way to have their voice heard. Simply tell them to let you finish and then they can ask questions or provide input. Don’t be aggressive; be assertive and confident.
Be Responsive, Not Reactive
Respond to a situation, don’t react to it. We are presented with many situations in construction project management and in life in general. The way we handle those situations says a lot about our character. Responding to a situation means that we take the time to consider our words carefully. Reacting to the situation means we explode and let our temper handle the issue at hand. Reacting often results in a negative outcome where responding means you’ve handled the situation quite nicely.
Speak Clearly and with Precision
Choose your words carefully. Speak them clearly and with precision. Don’t give anyone a reason to second guess you or doubt you. Explain everything like you’re discussing it with someone who is new at the job, but don’t patronize. Don’t ramble.
Your Construction Project Management Career
Your chosen career automatically puts you in the hot seat. Clients look to you for project updates and fulfillment. Supervisors look to you for direction and guidance. The entire crew looks to you for proper management including risk management on the jobsite. You allow people to get in the way of your career when you don’t stand your ground and insist on job quality.