Are you listening
"Are you listening?"
Are you listening? Or is it your way or the highway?
Do you listen to other people’s ideas? Do you do things the same way as you have always?
"Wars have been fought between groups who have been so convinced they were right that they could see no compromise."
I’ve seen some managers who only see ‘black and white’. There is no ‘grey’. Unfortunately life is never as simple. Wars have been fought between groups who have been so convinced they were right that they could see no compromise. Construction is often the same and we have to compromise. Of course there are somethings that shouldn’t be compromised in construction such as safety and quality. But, the simple act of listening and considering another’s opinion may be enough to convince you that you aren’t right, or possibly that it’s not actually worth fighting a war over – getting into an argument that may just cost you a customer, might damage your reputation or may negatively impact your relationship with a supplier, subcontractor or employee. Good communication is essential in construction
We can all learn in construction
There are some people who believe only they know what’s best. They’ll either rudely dismiss another’s opinion, or politely listen and then carry on as they think best. They are either so arrogant that they don’t believe anyone else could have a better suggestion, or too stupid to realise they aren’t as brilliant as they think. They truly believe they have an abundance of poise, charm and natural talents and believe they’re special, when in fact the opposite is probably true and they’re quite boorish. Yes, others too have opinions, knowledge and expertise. Even with 28 years of construction experience I know I can learn from others.
"We cannot sit back and say we’re doing it like this because that’s the way we have always done it."
Construction is a team effort and no one can do everything themselves. Also no one can know every facet of construction. Furthermore construction is evolving with new methods, equipment, technology and materials. Our customers are expecting more from contractors these days – unfortunately often more paperwork, lower prices and quicker build times. We cannot sit back and say we’re doing it like this because that’s the way we have always done it, or it worked for me in the past so there’s no reason why I should change.
Business is different these days. Our employees are different – they’re all tech savvy. We have to become smarter. It may mean we need to listen more.
Why ignoring the opinion of others may harm your construction project
Invariably people who don’t listen to others come unstuck.
"Employees get tired of offering solutions and suggestions which aren’t listened to."
Listening makes better construction managers
Listening to others doesn’t mean you have to believe them or follow as they suggest. In construction we frequently work with older and more experienced Supervisors and Craftspeople. They sometimes know what’s best, but often they (like you) may have become fixed in a routine, doing things a certain way – become set in their ways. They resent being told to do things differently. But, if you genuinely believe your method is better than theirs, and you have listened to their reasoning you should be able to explain why your methods are better than theirs and convince them to follow your instruction. By understanding why your methods are better they’ll often be more committed and motivated to follow your advice, instead of reluctantly following your instructions, or even possibly ignoring them.
Listening improves us and our construction project outcomes.
"I may not always be right."
I should listen more, maybe even compromise when necessary. I’m not as brilliant as I may think, and could learn from others around me. (Shock and horror) – I may not always be right!
But listening also provides an insight into others' thoughts and fears. This insight provides us an opportunity to convince others we’re right, and to get their buy-in to our methods. Successful construction demands good communication
This article was first published on the ClockShark website - Get The Industries' #1 Time-Tracking AppRunning a field service or construction business takes coordination and a great team. With ClockShark you get the industries' #1 timesheet app
Paul Netscher has written several easy to read books for owners, contractors, construction managers, construction supervisors and foremen. They cover all aspects of construction management and are filled with tips and insights.
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Copyright 2016 - The attached articles cannot be reproduced for commercial purposes without the consent of the author.
The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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