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When thinking about the construction industry, executives must realize the value of strategic leadership. In the book “Becoming a Strategic Leader” (2014), Hughes, Beatty & Dinwoodie remind leaders of the value of this type of leadership as it supports enduring performance and organizational potential for long-term success. As leaders in the construction industry seek to be strategic, “Becoming a Strategic Leader” outlines the following key insights.

  • Strategic thinking is an invaluable mindset geared toward success that is comprised of three components: viewing it as a collective process; involving not only the future, but also the present; and valuing both art and analytics of strategy.
  • Strategic acting speaks to the boldness and confidence of leaders “in the face of diversity, fostering agility, and creating alignment by setting clear strategic priorities.”
  • Strategic influence is critical to cultivating trust, building buy-in, sharing observations, sustaining momentum and connecting emotionally.
Culture of Vulnerability and Resiliency

While on this journey of strategic leadership, team culture is paramount. When construction leaders think of culture, it includes the people, interactions and connections in the team. Construction settings may be in need of a shift toward a culture of vulnerability. This culture shift from cultivating shame and fear in a team to cultivating vulnerability and resiliency is crucial as teams seek to build connection. Brene Brown, Ph.D., LMSW focuses her career on understanding shame and fear that people experience. In her book “I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t)” (2007), she outlines key elements for leaders nurturing a culture of vulnerability and resiliency:

  • Recognizing when shame is present and understanding the triggers with the team.
  • Practicing critical awareness and acknowledging when shame is present with team interactions.
  • Realizing the value of reaching out to others: “One of the most important benefits of reaching out to others is learning that the experiences that make us feel the most alone are actually universal experiences.”
  • Giving a vocabulary to the team so that everyone can speak the language of shame. This lays the foundation for active communication on the topic.

These elements serve as the starting point for leaders seeking to create a culture of connection, compassion and courage with teams.

Human Resources: Training on Culture

This discussion on leadership and culture connects to the new paradigm toward human resources development initiatives in organizations. With this shift, businesses are not merely focusing on work/duty training but also offering training related to culture and vision/strategy. “The Future of Human Resource Management” (2005) delineates between the two.

“Culture training requires an ongoing series of programs that describe and reinforce how work is done and people are treated. Work training is focused on how to get work done, including what is done, when it is done, and by whom is it done. Culture training is all the time; work training is just in time.”

It is important for construction leaders to develop trainings on culture for all members of the team. These trainings emphasize the importance of courageous leadership and strong cultures. Further, these trainings are just one way for strategic construction leaders to emphasize the importance of vulnerability and resiliency.

Key Information

Strategic leaders in the construction industry must understand the importance of a culture of vulnerability and resiliency while offering training programs to engage all team members. Construction executives should consider ways to personally improve strategic thinking, acting and influencing; ways to cultivate a culture of vulnerability and resiliency with the team; and ways to bring about a culture change in the construction company.

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