The construction industry has struggled to attract and retain quality employees amid the ongoing worker shortage. To find out what qualities companies should look for in their search for the next generation of industry leaders, we asked seven construction professionals during the AGC Convention what personality traits they believe are most important for someone to succeed in climbing to a leadership role in construction. Here's what they had to say:
Michael Bruynesteyn, treasurer and vice president of strategic finance, Turner Construction
"Resourcefulness is the most important trait, and persistence. On projects, you always run into obstacles, and you have to find ways around those. You have to keep pushing to overcome those. To be resourceful and figure things out and be persistent until you find the solution. Those are the most important features I look for. It's hard to test for that, though."
Daniel Moore, director of finance and risk management, Blois Construction
"They need dominance. They have to come off with strong confidence. People have to look at them as a decision maker, as someone they can count on. The areas that fail, they fail because no one's making the decisions. And everybody waits, and that's a problem in our business. You can't wait. All the failed areas I've seen were with someone waiting for someone else to make that decision."
Mark Knight, incoming AGC president; president of Foothills Contracting
"You need to be loyal, honest and hardworking. To be a part of our industry, you have to have those types of traits. Loyalty means that while you're where you're working, that you're loyal to that company and to what it's core values are. You want to be honest. Honesty obviously speaks for itself. And we expect everybody to be hardworking. If you have those traits, then you're going to be successful in this industry.
One thing I love about contractors — they're willing to give back. That's one of the things that happens within our industry. You have to be that type of person. If you want to succeed, you have to have those qualities of wanting to give back. It's not an easy industry. It takes stepping out a little bit. But you get to build something. When you're done, you have something. That's what makes me proud of the industry. If you have that characteristic within you where you understand that value, then I think you become successful."
Kurk Walton, chief operating officer, Kimball Construction
"They've got to pay attention to the small stuff. They've got to have a focus on detail. They have to have pride in their work. They have to be able to understand complex ideas and drawings and be able to translate that two-dimensional concept to a work structure. They have to be able to collaborate and work with others."
Bob Wilson, executive director of AGC of Mississippi
"They have to be very direct. They have to know how to work with people. It's not just being outgoing; it's being a leader. These guys really possess natural leadership."
Mark Linenberger, general manager and senior vice president, Linbeck Group
"The most important trait is extreme self-awareness. Our industry attracts and recruits highly technical, competent individuals that share a mindset for the search of truth. Young professionals we're recruiting will excel if they show up with an understanding of self. By understanding ourselves, we're able to read others, and then we can lead others."
Chad Tyson, general superintendent, Blach Construction
"You have to be caring and productive. My whole deal is teamwork. We're a general contractor, but we know that we're just a small piece of the puzzle."