The Top X Underrated Construction Management Skills (And How To Improve Them)

4/20/2022

Construction management: it's not just about the obvious skills. In fact, there are a lot of skills that go into managing a construction project successfully, and many of them have little to nothing to do with those hands-on building skills that you may have spent a great deal of time developing. Are you ready to take your construction management skills beyond the basics and become an expert in your craft? Make sure you have a construction training program that includes these vital skills. 

1. Prioritizing Time

Construction projects take time. Unfortunately, they often have a limited amount of it--and everyone from project managers or project engineers to field workers also have a limited amount of time to focus on the various projects you have to handle and the tasks they need to take care of each day. Learning how to prioritize time is critical. Who really deserves your time and energy? What tasks need your specific skills? What about your workers' time: how is it best spent?

One of the best ways you can prioritize your time is by automating many of the tasks that often fill your To Do list--and organizing your materials so that you don't have to spend unnecessary time dealing with them. LinkedField Collect, for example, is ideal for helping you keep up with all the messages and communications that come in from your subcontractors, clients, and more--which means you'll be saving the time that you usually have to spend taking care of those tasks. 

2. Communication

Communication is critical on the job site. If you don't have solid communication skills, chances are, you're struggling to keep up with everything going on: the latest client change to your job site; the latest health and safety recommendations; the latest needs of your workers. As a project manager in the construction industry, you might have assumed that you might not need good written communication skills. As technology advances, however, written communication is becoming increasingly common, increasingly necessary, and increasingly important. You need to be able to communicate, both verbally and in writing, with construction workers, clients, subcontractors, and more. 

3. Rating the Importance of Issues As They Crop Up

Only rarely does a construction job complete without any issues along the way. You might hear from a subcontractor that the dimensions are off on a drawing, or that a specific design just isn't working with the local codes. Some vital stage of the project is running behind schedule. Items that you ordered weeks ago haven't yet shipped out.

Learning how to rate issues and prioritize which ones you have to fix first is critical. Without that rating ability, you could find yourself drowning under a constant To Do list of issues. You may struggle to figure out what needs your attention first--or how to ensure that you're successfully dealing with those issues. As you learn how to rate the importance of issues, on the other hand, you may find yourself under considerably less stress on the job site. Over time, it grows easier to deal with many of the challenges that come your way--and your job site will, as a result, run much more smoothly. 

4. Finding & Anticipating Issues Ahead of Time

Dealing with issues on the job site isn't just about putting out fires as they come up. If you want to become a more effective project manager, one of the best skills you can develop is the ability to forecast potential challenges and deal with them before they become more serious.

Will a supply chain delay prevent you from reaching goals on time? Do you need a new subcontractor to help prevent costly delays on a big project? Are you missing the manpower to handle all the elements of a project that seem to come due at the same time? Learning how to forecast potential issues can prove critical to your overall management skills. When you learn how to find them early, you can troubleshoot before those issues become more serious--and ultimately, that can put you in a better position to keep your job sites running smoothly. 

5. Finding Solutions

When a problem crops up, what do you do about it? If you want to become a more effective project manager, one of the best things you can do is troubleshoot solutions to those problems, whether you find those solutions well in advance or deal with them as they emerge.

Problems happen. Job sites rarely run perfectly smoothly. If you want to be an effective construction manager, you need to learn how to address those problems head-on and come up with solutions to them.

Is the weather interfering with your schedule? Are you short on specific materials? Is there a change order the client wants to submit that just won't work with your existing schedule or plans? The solutions you need will be different for every project, depending on your available budget, your timeline, and the specific client's needs. However, as an effective project manager, you will learn how to address those problems quickly and come up with reasonable solutions for them.

6. Delegation

In order to become an effective project manager, you need to recognize your personal skills, but you also need to learn to recognize the skills of the people around you. You can't do it all yourself. An effective team of construction workers will operate in harmony--and you need to know when it's time to hand over responsibilities to someone else and let them take on some of those challenges for you.

To do that effectively, however, you need a solid idea of your workers' skills, what they can accomplish, and where they're most comfortable. Your understanding needs to begin during the onboarding process and continue as a worker trains and grows with your company.

Project managers need a variety of skills--many of them unexpected. LinkedField can help enhance your ability to communicate, delegate, and even troubleshoot problems on a job site more easily. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of our platform.