Part 2 – Let Middle Managers Manage

 

 

This is part 2 of a 2-part discussion about growing your business through growing your middle managers. If you missed part 1 which concerns what you as an owner should be doing in your construction contracting business you can go here.

Have you ever gotten a chuckle out of the scene when a three-year-old announces, “I do it myself,” over a task which he may or may not be able to accomplish? What we usually do is allow the child time and space to prove he can or prove he can’t. Either way, the child has learned something. You may have to use the same approach when training the folks on your middle management team. Let them try. They may succeed, they may fail. Either way they (and you) have learned something.

That being said, it is imperative to remember, “I tie my own shoes,” is different from “I boil my own water,” and you’ll, of course, need to be discerning when handing off assignments which are age (or skill-level) appropriate.

Grow middle managers for your construction contracting or service business

You may have any number of different titles for your middle managers. Some which come to mind are:

  • superintendent
  • operations manager
  • project coordinator
  • foreman
  • project director
  • safety manager

Whatever they are called, the people who make up your team of middle managers are important to the lifeblood of your company.

3 important components used to build your middle management team

Communicate with them

Listen to them. Listen to them. Listen to them. Yes, you’ll have essential information to pass on to them, yet it is important to engage them in collaborative conversations. Listen to their concerns, hear their feedback, discern their needs. Think about where they’re coming from, what their perspective is and be prepared to ask questions to define the conversation. When you’re aiding them in understanding they’re a middle manager who is important to the function and goals of the company, they’re more likely to align themselves with the mission and purpose of your construction contracting or service business.

Train them

Develop their leadership skills. It is important to model good leadership skills in your interactions with middle managers. You should also consider providing scheduled training in various areas. The training may take place in a class room, online, at a boot camp, at a conference, or “on the job,” yet is best not left to chance. This article written by Brad Humphrey from For Construction Pros offers valuable information concerning training superintendents. The information found there is good across the board for your various middle managers.

Sharpen them

Maintain a set of questions to use when conversing with them. While the questions shouldn’t be considered ice-breakers, there is a component of “getting to know your people” that will come with asking good questions. Try questions like this:

  • What have you learned this week?
  • When was the last time your routine changed?
  • What are your bottlenecks?
  • Where is the most friction on this job?
  • What isn’t working?
  • How would you fix it?
  • What decisions can I help you make?
  • How is everything going?
  • Which task did you most recently delegate and to whom?
  • What great thing happened to you professionally or personally this week?

Provide strategic input to your middle managers and then allow them the freedom to implement those strategies. Micromanaging them is a waste of your time as well as theirs. Instead, make sure they know and understand their tasks and responsibilities. Finally, give them the power to make decisions instead of bothering you.

Your call to action

The first step you can take is to make a list of everything you can delegate to your current middle managers. Then using the three steps outlined above, begin growing your middle managers in ways that will in turn aid you in growing your construction contracting or service business. Delegate the proper tasks to the right people and be ready to lead them going forward.

Part 1 – Let Middle Managers Manage

This is part 1 of a 2-part discussion concerning growing your construction contracting or service business through growing your middle managers. In this section the discussion will center on what you as an owner should be doing in your business while allowing your middle managers to manage other aspects.  

You’re the boss – own it

You have better things to do than being on job sites all day long. Put your time and effort towards critical, big-picture decisions concerning your construction contracting business. The areas you should consider are:

Operations

reducing cycle times

eliminating waste

increasing on-time delivery

Financial

preparing budgets

reducing outstanding debt

growing profit techniques

Analysis

improving customer satisfaction

discerning inventory turns

identifying repeated bottle necks

Leading

communicating the vision

holding others accountable

gaining new industry insights

instructing or providing instruction for employees

It is your job to clearly visualize the end result of each job and how that job affects your overall goal of company growth and profit building. Therefore, you do well to assign responsibilities and accountabilities to the correct people — the middle managers, thus assuring you get there.

In part 2 we’ll look at what it takes to have an excellent team of middle managers doing their jobs well, making it possible for you to do your job well. You can see part 2 by going here