What separates you from the best construction industry leaders you’ve known?

Hopefully, you answered, “Nothing!”

Whether you’re the CEO, a project manager, a site supervisor, or on your first day on the job, your ability to lead yourself will determine how likely you are to achieve your goals. Your ability to act as a role model to others speaks volumes about your character. You might not be reflecting on your impact and demeanor, but those who work with you are.

Leaders provide vision and example to guide others; managers get the things that need to be done, done. And self-leadership is key to their success.

Self-Leadership is Key 

Career advancement results from being able to lead — not just those around you, but mostly yourself. Your behavior and commitment to growth can be inspiring to others.

Leading yourself requires a skillset that takes years of practice, but the benefits are worth the effort. To be a self-leader, you must:

  • Manage your time well. Schedule your workload in a way that you can get it all done. Carve out blocks of time for big tasks, and take care of trivial duties (emails, phone calls) at specific times throughout the day.
  • Be willing to take the initiative. Leaders step in when others hesitate—practice responsible risk-taking.
  • Use honesty, integrity, and transparency when communicating. Tell the truth, demonstrate empathy, and listen as much as you talk.
  • Handle stressful situations with professionalism, flexibility, and resilience. On some days, crazy jumps in the truck, and it won’t get out even when coaxed. Recognize its presence, but don’t get on the floor to play with it. The job comes first.
  • Practice self-care. Find your work-life balance so you can be your best in both worlds — and inspire others to do the same.

Zeroing in on Self-Leadership

The advice of Marcus Buckingham (The One Thing You Need to Know, 2004) is particularly relevant in the construction industry today, especially when you’re growing as a leader:

  1. Just like your employees, you will face occasional challenges.
  2. Learn to manage the challenges by adding new skills to your toolbox or identify people on your team who already have these skills.
  3. Prioritize support — for your growth and your employees’ growth.

Whether you’re in the C-suite or an employee in the field, becoming a self-leader requires a commitment to stick to the process. Those who master self-leadership possess the most highly sought-after talent in the construction industry, and recruiters always seek passive candidates to fill roles in other organizations.

You might be one of them.