Project and construction managers work in a high-pressure job. They must deliver a build on time and on (or under) budget while ensuring the whole operation runs like a well-oiled machine. They have to delegate jobs, negotiate prices and hire machines sometimes all in one day. There’s a lot of advice out there on how to be a good project manager, but we’ve started with the basics.

 

  • Plan

Project managers have gone through some formal training to refine this skill. They’re master planners; day to day, incident to resolution, they can handle whatever situation is thrown at them because they planned for it.

Part of the plan is negotiating with suppliers and organising leases. For short term projects, they’ll hire the tools they need like forklifts, skip bins and other construction equipment. This leads us to the next skill…

 

  • Communicate

A good project manager never leaves anyone wondering. They speak regularly with clients, head office, and the crew. This means everyone is up to speed, and the manager understands what’s going on in all aspects of their project.

As a project manager you must communicate, but this doesn’t mean sitting in front of a computer just emailing all the time. You’ll attend client meetings, be on the phone with vendors you’re leasing from, and so much more. You’re going to meet an array of interesting people from different backgrounds, workwise. Be friendly, but not too personal, and always remember to say ‘thank you’.

You’ll be on the phone a lot

 

  • Get on site

As a project manager, you’ve graduated from tradesperson to corporate entity and most of your time is spent behind a desk. But to get the real picture on progress, or lack thereof, it’s best to ‘get out there’.

 

  • Remember where you came from

This is a bit of a corny line but it’s true. You’re in a position of authority now, but you started somewhere else. Do you remember the days when you drove a forklift or a delivery truck? Those long hours and the complaints you had to endure? When someone from the same position comes to you with a problem, empathise. You were in their job once and probably went through the same situation they’re in now.

Every project manager has started somewhere low on the ladder

 

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