If you are a construction management professional, whether at assistant level project management, field management, project administrator or any title below director and above tradesman, like it or not, you are middle management! Just look at your company’s organizational chart! The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines middle management as “the intermediate management level of a hierarchical organization that is subordinate to the executive management and responsible for ‘team leading’ line managers and/or ‘specialist’ line managers. Middle management is indirectly (through line management) responsible for junior staff performance and productivity.

Certain expectations come with being a mid-level manager. Those expectations may vary from organization to organization, although certain expectations are uniform with the profession itself. For example, a project manager or superintendent may or may not be responsible for hiring their team at their respective company, although they are expected to motivate, influence, and direct their subordinates, become a role model for them, and demonstrate the quality and the level of work contribution necessary for the organization. In addition, they are expected to engage in their own self-development and learning and help their subordinates do the same. That is, if they are doing the job they were hired to do entirely, inclusive of all the responsibilities.

All personnel on an organizational chart who are not in the trades or labor, which sometimes this includes task-oriented office roles such as data entry, fall in the category of management, thus we call it “Construction Management.”

A simple Organization chart depicting Middle Management

What can you do to be a better manager for your company?

  1. Understand the mission, vision, and core values of the company you work for and what is expected of you to follow and demonstrate to others.
  2. Learn to “look beyond your nose” as the saying goes, which is build your day and, your project in advance by reviewing the schedule and documents so you can avoid unnecessary delays and costs.
  3. Work on your communication skills. Despite how good you might think they are, nobody is a master at written and verbal in all situations with all people. It is a life-long awareness of what might be presented differently next time for a better result.
  4. Master “two is better than one” mentality. Construction is a team sport and no matter where you reside on the organizational chart your subordinates are teammates and not minions.

Construction management is the main title of your role, despite your specific job title within the main category. It may sound like you are managing work in place although the trade foremen are responsible for doing that. The reality is that as a construction management professional, on the org chart above, you are responsible for the people, places, and things required to successfully construct whatever is in the scope of the desired result of the project.

Whether you like it or not, this is the career you pursued and I am thankful you did! If there is anything we can do to help you identify not only your strengths, but also your weaknesses with communication and understand how to best do your job, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our coaching and career matchmaking services can align you with the programs and people that will help you shore up your management foundation.

To Loving Construction Management,

Suzanne Breistol


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