Project management is the practice of applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities with the goal of achieving pre-determined objectives and requirements. This definition applies to all industries, including construction.
In construction project management, the project manager is responsible for the planning, coordination, budgeting, execution, and supervision of a project, whether it’s residential, commercial, industrial, or institutional. They must be highly-skilled and organized to meet all goals.
But more often than not, the end result of a construction project is determined by the leadership skills of a project manager. In addition to technical know-how, the project manager must also possess certain leadership qualities to steer the project in the right direction. A study published in the International Journal of Science, Engineering, and Technology posited that construction project managers who exhibit leadership traits like honesty, integrity, adaptability, accessibility, effective communication, forward-looking, and collaboration are more effective in achieving successful project outcomes.
According to a recent survey by Wellingtone, poorly trained project managers, attempting too many projects, and a lack of project funding are some of the largest project management challenges. In order to remedy this, Maryville University explains how effective leaders should possess skills such as conflict management, evidence-based decision-making, strategic communication, and critical thinking. With that in mind, here are some ways effective organizational leadership can lead to highly successful construction projects:
Managers are focused on short-term and mid-term deliverables, while leaders create a vision. And part of having a vision is being able to predict ways in which a project can go sideways. Before diving into a project, construction project managers should conduct a risk analysis to assess how project outcomes and objectives can change due to certain risk events, as well as come up with contingency plans to mitigate them.
Perhaps the most critical phase of project management is project planning, where the project manager leads the team and stakeholders through a project study, so everyone has a thorough understanding of what needs to be done. Everything from a detailed timeline and realistic budget to the team composition would be discussed during this stage. The project manager also needs to assign members to specific tasks as they know which people have the skills to complete them. Planning also avoids scope creep, where parts of a project expand from what was originally set. While projects usually slightly deviate from the initial plan before completion, proper planning outlines all the goals from the get-go and helps maintain control during execution.
Project execution is where the leadership skills of a project manager come in handy. During this phase, the actual work begins, signaling the implementation of the project plans. In addition to making sure that everything is put into motion as planned, a study published in the International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability notes that the project manager must also have the ability to motivate people in the team to commit to achieving project goals.
After a project has been completed, project managers carefully assess everything that transpired and discuss with the rest of the team which parts did and didn’t meet the objectives. They should exercise honesty and transparency when talking about what needs to change so that fewer mistakes will happen in subsequent projects.
Leadership is a significant factor in project success. Apart from having a technical skillset, project managers must also possess leadership qualities to propel the project and the team to success. A project management tool like Redteam can help make their job easier. Since a construction project involves a lot of moving parts, the tool can assist project leaders in things like the collaboration with team members and organization of tasks to keep the project on track and within budget. It helps everyone reach peak efficiency, which leads to a positive impact on the bottom line of the project.
Written by: Maggie Masters