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Emotional Intelligence in the Construction Industry
7 Ways To Improve Emotional Intelligence In Construction
The construction industry is one that has been historically seen as underperforming, and attempts to use operations management techniques borrowed from other sectors to improve efficiency and profitability have not reaped the rewards they promised.
However, changing the focus from processes to the people managing them may hold the key to greatly improving effectiveness in the industry. In our last post we looked at why the construction sector is particularly resistant to incorporating emotional intelligence into its work and ways in which it would benefit from overcoming this resistance.
Today, we will share some tips on incorporating emotional intelligence into construction companies’ operations.
Train all employees in basic emotional intelligence skills.
This doesn’t mean shelling out on an expensive training course for every member of staff, but including basic emotional intelligence competency training as part of staff development or induction will raise the level of awareness in the workforce about how our emotions affect our work and behaviour. This can be as simple as teaching employees how to become aware of their emotions and how they can affect others, to identify the reasons why they are experiencing certain emotions, and how to control them. Ensure they know to only take action when they understand the situation clearly, unclouded by emotional responses.
Train construction managers how to use emotional intelligence effectively in their role.
An effective manager is the best way to ensure a team creates value beyond what each team member could create individually. A manager skilled in the emotional intelligence competencies of communication, empathy, and adaptability (to name just a few) will be able to motivate a team to fulfil their potential, guide efficient collaboration, and successfully steer their projects through the inevitable changes and challenges that arise.
Identify potential managers early on.
Identifying potential managers before there is a need for one allows you time to assign them tasks or projects that will help them build the skills they will need to succeed in a management role. When picking these employees for potential promotion, always remember to do so based on their competency in relevant skills (such as leadership, collaboration, and judgement) rather than their skill in an unrelated area.
Set clear boundaries and standards around staff conduct.
Construction has a reputation of having a ‘lad culture,’ defined by its acceptance of sexism and sexual harassment. While this may not be a fair judgement of all construction companies, all organisations benefit from having a clear code of conduct for all employees to follow. Not only does this reduce the incidence of workplace bullying, but it can also work to build trust, as employees know what is expected of them and what they can expect of each other.
Ensure teams have a shared goal at the beginning of the project.
When a team has a shared goal they are more likely to view themselves as contributing to a larger, shared objective rather than simply doing their own tasks separately from the rest of the team. To achieve this, ensure the team’s goal is communicated clearly to them at the beginning of each project, and help them understand the purpose of each team member, what their role is, and their importance to the project. This builds understanding, clarity, and trust between team members.
Ensure information flow is free and fair.
It is important that the whole team are kept informed of project developments, changes, and issues. This helps them do their job more effectively while also showing that they are trusted and valued members of the team – which they won’t if they are kept in the dark when key decisions are made. Keeping a free and fair information flow also helps communication and prevents facts and opinions becoming distorted as they are passed from one section of the project to another.
Remember that an emotionally intelligent team needs an emotionally intelligent organisation to flourish.
Often, an individual’s behaviour reflects the culture of the company they are working for – and not always positively. If a company’s culture is to make money at any cost, employees will cut corners, and act in an adversarial manner. If teams are to work in an emotionally intelligent way, the wider company policy and culture must support this.
If a construction company is to maximise profits while having high standards and receiving minimal complaints from clients, it is imperative that the organisation prioritises the balancing of employees’ technical skill with the emotional intelligence competencies necessary for teams to succeed. Summit offers a variety of emotional intelligence training courses aimed at providing managers with the skills needed to help their teams and employers flourish.
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