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How to Be a Good Construction Supervisor

by Christina Shepherd McGuire

Project management, employee supervision, client communications and subcontractor scheduling are only a few tasks on a construction supervisor's "to do" list. In this important role, you oversee all components of a construction project, from start to finish. Don't be afraid of strapping on the 'ole tool belt for demonstrations or to provide an extra set of hands in a project's eleventh hour. Don your hard hat and organize your computer tablet if you think this career path's for you. One minute you may be reviewing plans and coordinating a crane drop, and the next you're reprimanding your guys for delinquent safety practices.

Develop 'Big Picture' Thinking

Come to the project with an organized mindset. Make sure to account for things like budget, timeline, schedule and code regulations.

Demonstrate flexibility when you encounter plan changes or unexpected events. Learn how to roll with the pressure and think quickly in a fast-paced environment.

Set goals and plan out a map of "deliverables." Employ strategies for execution that meet the client's expectations. Adapt these strategies as issues present themselves.

Fine-tune the details and delegate tasks accordingly. Have your computer tablet available at the job site to record schedule changes, deliveries and tweaks in the building plans.

Be the Personality of the Job

Listen carefully to the client and architect as they lay out their plans and expectations. Good documentation and clear communication sets the foundation for the project and proves you've got it together.

Demonstrate good leadership and don't be afraid to throw on a tool belt and participate in the nail banging. Doing so will gain you respect from your employees, making them more productive and attentive to your needs.

Show up with an open mind and learn from daily interactions. Demonstrate you know your stuff, but are also willing to learn other strategies and adapt them as the need arises.

Be an open door for communication. Present yourself in an approachable manner so that discussions flow smoothly and employees can come to you openly with mistakes or mishaps.

Tips

  • Make sure you pencil in an office day once a week to regroup. Off-site planning and preparation assures you'll come to the job with a clear agenda and won't be caught off guard.
  • Communicate any extensions or budget discrepancies immediately with the client. Last-minute issues reflect poorly on you and may harm the entire project.

Warning

  • Always put safety at the top of your list. Cutting corners in an attempt to stay within budget or on schedule can lead to disastrous consequences.

About the Author

Christina Shepherd McGuire writes articles about adventure sports, fashion, mothering and natural living. Since 2003, her work has appeared in "Action Outdoor and Bike Magazine," "Teton Family Magazine," "The Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine" and several online publications. McGuire holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.

Photo Credits

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