How Emotional Intelligence Impacts Construction Job Sites

Oct 21, 2020

In our July blog, we covered a topic that’s generating a lot of interest in the construction industry. We’re talking about emotional intelligence (EI). In layman’s terms, many recognize that emotional intelligence is about maturity. The capacity to identify, express, control, and manage emotions with sound judgement and empathy. For commercial contractors, it’s a quality found in every good job foreman. Let’s explore how emotional intelligence impacts each phase of construction project management.

The RFP and Bid Process

A general contractor puts out an RFP for bids on a $2M project, but there’s a catch. He needs an answer in 24 hours. An estimator with high emotional intelligence doesn’t panic and issue unreasonable demands from subcontractors, suppliers, and vendors. They understand that this is a great opportunity to secure work for the company and applies a calm, steady approach in developing the scope. What they can’t fully complete, they define as accurately as possible, leaving enough leeway to revisit. The goal is to get the bid returned by the deadline provided.

Worksite

A job foreman with emotional intelligence has taken the time to assess the project from all angles. Preparation, review, job specs, crew assignment and workflow have been decided and pre-planned. All that’s left is the day-to-day team management to get the job done right. Emotional intelligence is one of the top indicators of a strong leader. They have earned the respect of others because of the consideration they give to others. Work crews respond to leaders who manage a jobsite with fairness, positivity, and reasonable expectations.

Project Complications

Rarely does a commercial construction project go exactly according to plan. Complications with drawings, specs, subcontractors, schedules, and supply chain disruptions are common—and blame can sometimes be unclear. But it’s how a job foreman responds to any adversity that reveals their level of emotional intelligence. Reacting to jobsite complications with defensiveness, anger, and pettiness are not only unproductive, they send a clear message to the crew. You’re adding to the problem, not solving it.

Dealing with Mistakes

Mistakes are rare, but when they do occur, it’s important to have a job foreman with a high degree of emotional intelligence. With EI, the mistake is accurately communicated, a solution provided, and the issue remedied. Trying to weasel out of responsibility not only delays progress, but sets a poor example for co-workers, and ultimately denigrates the reputation of the foreman’s company. Word does indeed, get around.

A person’s emotional intelligence isn’t predetermined. It’s a trait that can be learned, encouraged, and improved upon. Positions where leadership is vital—such as a job foreman—must include individuals with a high degree of emotional intelligence. As we’ve seen with the examples above, every aspect of project management in commercial contractor work depends on it. If you have an understanding of the value of emotional intelligence in the skilled labor market, perhaps you should join our team. We’d love to hear from you.

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