Working in the construction trades requires a good amount of training to keep every project moving forward and every job site safe. Whether learned on the job or in a classroom, mastering methods is critical. Given the nature of the construction industry, training never really ends. Ongoing training is necessary to develop the skills needed to have a successful long-term construction career.
If you are an active member of the industry or have been following our blog for some time, you know how important thorough training is. But what if we told you there’s more to the job than the task at hand and that some skills are more powerful, even though they aren’t visible?
Tangible skills go a long way in the construction industry, but they aren’t the only thing to focus on. Soft skills support a successful construction career just as much — if not more — than logical thought. It’s the soft skills that take a person from a simple skilled tradesperson to a valuable team member.
Picture a chaotic construction site: there are major machines to monitor and specific processes to follow as crew members work side by side. Your construction intelligence will help you with your specific task, but without intuition and emotional intelligence, the team as a whole will not succeed.
You’re probably familiar with intuition. Intuition is that gut instinct that guides our actions and is based on past experiences along with the specific situation in the present moment. It is much more valuable than a hunch and, when properly utilized, can be a truly educated inference. When you “trust your gut” and utilize your own intuitive understanding, you add incredible value for the organization by coming to the right decision quicker.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) might be a new term to you. EQ can be defined as an individual’s “ability to recognize, understand, manage, and reason with emotions.” More than just surface-level intelligence, EQ helps you adapt to situations better by managing your own impulsive behaviors and feelings, being aware of your own emotions, understanding the emotional needs of others, and communicating well to maintain healthy relationships. When you leverage EQ, you can feel out the situation to better adapt to the most stressful times on the jobsite.
We are more than just robots, we are constantly making human connections and inferences. Picture a chaotic construction site again, except this time, the crew is working well under pressure and positively influencing one another. This is the difference between short-term productivity and long-term success.
As you develop your skills for the job, go beyond rational thought and train in a new way. A skilled tradesperson with a strong intuition and high EQ will do far better than those with trade expertise alone.
To improve intuition:
- Recognize when your intuition is trying to tell you something.
- Act on your gut feelings.
- Get used to trusting yourself.
- Put down your to do list, calendar and email and immerse yourself in a hobby you love.
To improve EQ:
- Improve your stress management strategies so that when stressful situations arise, you’ll be able to control impulsive behaviors and adapt to the changing circumstances around you.
- Find a mindfulness method that works well for you so you can stay in tune with your feelings before erupting emotionally.
- Get out of your own ahead and listen to what others are saying and how others are acting.
- Be aware of your nonverbal cues so you say the right thing, even when you aren’t speaking.