Leadership – Keep learning

Leadership in construction means continual learning

Leadership means continual learning

You’re a construction contractor.

By default, that means you’re a leader.

Through reason, that means you want to be the best leader you can be.

Because of experience, you know there are things you can do to improve your leadership ability.

In the first part of this four-part series of articles concerning leadership in the construction world, the subject is improving your leadership skills through continuous learning.

Therefore, making time for the hard work that continual learning requires is perhaps the most important step in becoming a great leader.

Resolve to have a learning attitude

So, once you’ve resolved to have a learning attitude, there are actions you can take to make it happen. Among them are:

  • Determine to improve your leadership ability constantly.
  • Take charge of your learning.
  • Spend time with others who are eager to learn.
  • Remain aware of the multiple learning opportunities surrounding you.
  • Be willing to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Remind yourself how learning will help you achieve your leadership goals.
  • Set new learning goals regularly.

Walter D. Wintle, in 1900, published a poem titled “Thinking” and it sums up the attitude question quite well.

If you think you are beaten, you are;

If you think you dare not, you don’t;

If you want to win but think you can’t;

It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost;

For out of the world we find

Success begins with a person’s will;

It’s all in a state of mind.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger and faster human,

But sooner or later the people who win

Are the ones who think they can.

Set aside time for learning

Becoming a better leader means continually growing your leadership skills.

For instance, it could mean you enroll in a class and show up regularly. However, it could take setting aside time on your calendar marked “learning time.” Be prepared to learn by allowing for learning time. There are lots of ways to increase your leadership knowledge. Here are some of them:

  • Follow leadership blogs
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Take a class concerning leadership (online or in-person)
  • Read magazines or journals
  • Study leaders that you admire
  • Volunteer at your industry association, a club, your place of worship, or elsewhere
  • Teach others what you know (thereby improving your skills and insight)
  • Attend seminars, workshops, or courses

Learn as you go

Even though it is a good idea to set aside time for learning leadership skills, there is also merit in being aware of spontaneous learning opportunities.

It begins with being a good listener. Therefore, you’ll do well to read this article from The Positivity Blog that offers ten simple steps for being a better listener.

Of course, learn from your mentors and role models. But don’t leave it there. Here are a few others who may have something to teach you about leadership.

  • Your employees and subs
  • The partners in your business
  • General contractors or their representatives
  • Your spouse or companion
  • The children in your life
  • Friends
  • Your next-door neighbors
  • The guy or gal who cuts your hair

See what I mean? Listen to those who have something to teach you about leadership, no matter where you encounter them. For example, in your front yard or at the grocery store.

What’s next?

There is more to say concerning leadership in the construction industry. The upcoming articles on this topic are:

Practice composure

Develop an eye for the big picture

Inspire others


We desire to familiarize you with business concepts, which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction subcontractor through our blog posts. Some are new ways of looking at things, and others are refreshers. 

Schulte and Schulte Provides Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735

Teaching Yourself in the Construction World

Teaching yourself to be a better construction business owner.

Teaching yourself

Teaching yourself how to be a better construction business owner is part of your job description. Besides, if you don’t do it, who will?

You know if you stand in a garage it doesn’t make you into a car. Did you also know if you sit in a classroom it doesn’t make you into a learner?

While there’s a snowball’s chance in hell you’ll ever become a car, there is a very good chance you are already a learner – classroom or not. You wouldn’t have gotten this far if you weren’t.

Why bother teaching yourself?

In the most practical sense, learning offers options. You’re capable of generating better ideas. And, your ability to solve problems escalates.

There is more to it. Learning enriches your life’s experiences. It allows you to better understand yourself, those around you, and the world at large.

Your mind grows with each new piece of information.

Warren Buffett said reading 500 pages a day was the key to success. His reason? “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”

Whether through reading or other means, cultivating a passion for learning has the power to move you from Average Joe Contractor to a highly regarded construction contractor.

There is one caveat to the learning process. It has to do with the Dunning-Kruger Effect.   And, if you don’t know about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, it is high time you learn. Check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

Assuming you’re not in the first phase of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, the more you know, the more you realize just how ignorant you are (in any given subject area) and the more you want to correct that.

What to learn

It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to improve yourself, your business acumen, or your ability to have fun, there are three basic areas to be improved through learning. They are:

  • Skills
  • Knowledge
  • Awareness or Attitude

Skills and Knowledge, you get. It’s where the most focus takes place in classroom settings and less formal learning spaces. They’re easy to measure. Can you do it? Are you able to understand it?

But your awareness? Your attitude? Who measures those? And how?

Here are three examples of things you might want to learn more about and improve in your awareness and attitude sphere.

  1. Show more appreciation for the contributions of others
  2. Place a higher value on client relations
  3. Be better motivated to work harder

How to learn it

There are three methods of learning. It is probable one suits you best, yet you’re capable of learning by using all three methods.


It could mean a college degree or could be more along the lines of taking classes which have information you want and need. You can find them everywhere. Colleges, vendors, construction associations, general contractors, and skill-specific teachers all come to mind.

Usually, formal training or classes are designed to get you to the next level.

Again, be careful. Studying only to get a grade can undermine the process of real learning. Don’t let grades get in the way of getting the most knowledge and enjoyment out of your courses.

Instead, look at formal learning occasions as ways to increase your ability to think and analyze, thereby giving you better ways to integrate new ideas and information.


In the informal learning arena, no classrooms are involved. Your goals are specific. You want to learn something well enough to understand or participate. Often (though not always) you learn at your own pace and in your own time.

Here are some of the ways you can informally learn:

  • Watching others perform
  • Asking questions
  • By taking something apart
  • Reading
  • Viewing videos


Casual learning is the least structured of the three methods yet offers just as much as the other two if you take advantage of it. Here is where the power of curiosity shines.

From the simple “google it” question to the trip you take with the family to the history museum, there are things to learn. Casual learning isn’t geared to the success ladder nor the party trick format. But, you can find ideas, thoughts, and actions to pertain to either.

This article from DailyInfographic has some interesting information about learning something new every day as well as reasons for doing so.

Lastly, I’ll remind you to focus on the kinds of study that enhance the quality, not the quantity of your learning experiences.


We desire to familiarize you with business concepts which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction business owner through our blog posts. Some will be new ways of looking at things, and others will be refreshers.

Schulte and Schulte Provides Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735