Women Leading in Construction: Leadership Styles 

Leadership in the construction industry has evolved in many ways through the years.

In more recent years, the industry has seen more women in leadership roles than in previous generations. Some of the most common leadership styles that occur in the industry are democratic, servant, coaching, Autocratic, transformational, and transactional.

Democratic Leadership

Those who use the democratic leadership styles are usually executive level leaders who rely on other people’s input before making big decisions. They take advice and ideas from every person on their team at every level into their decision-making process. This style of leadership can lead to a stronger relationship between a team and their higher ups when they know that their leaders listen and take their ideas into consideration before big decisions for the team are made.

Coaching Leadership

Coaching leaders are natural teachers who provide in-house training to their employees. They are often providing proper training courses for different projects that allow team members to learn new skills with construction technology and project management. This allows leaders to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of their individual team members with the one-on-one interactions they have when coaching a worker. It creates a stronger talent pool and leads to less injuries on the job site when workers have excellent coaching leaders that provide adequate training throughout their careers.

Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership is the more traditional boss and employee style of leadership. These leaders usually have a lot of experience in the field and can make difficult decisions with the knowledge and authority that they have acquired throughout their career. Autocratic leaders typically work their way up in their same company over many years, learning each position and the ins and outs of the company and the people who work there. With this knowledge of the company, they are trusted to make decisions with everyone’s best intentions in mind.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership plays a crucial role at the C-suite level to drive productivity & profitability. Servant leaders serve a business by providing for the people who do the work. Servant leaders must be great listeners to know what to properly provide for their team and their company. They set high level goals and strategies and are always open for conversation and prioritize every person at every level of their company.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders are always looking for new ways to improve their team. They are often described as charismatic leaders who are always pushing their team forward. These people are constantly demonstrating new safety techniques to provide the proper safety skills to workers. In a research study on transformational leadership theory and its applicability to safety, it was stated that transformational leaders typically use four influential strategies that create a healthy level of trust:

Idealized Influence – Inspire their workers to go beyond their personal interests serves as a role model for desired behaviors.

Motivation – Fosters commitment to goals in subordinates

Intellectual – Connects subordinates’ problem-solving intelligence stimulation

Empathy – For workers wellbeing

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership is a rewards style type of leadership where workers are rewarded for good work but can also face punishment for not meeting a goal. “Transactional leadership is attributed to lower stress levels in team members, greater knowledge sharing, creating an atmosphere that promotes positive motivation, and works well for simple projects,” was stated in a research study on leadership styles and construction project success done by Stacey J. Parson of Capella University. This style can help to meet targets that are easily measured by KPIs.

The right style for you

Finding the right leadership style that best works for you or your team could take a lot of time and a lot of trial and error. One specific style might not work as well in some areas so incorporating multiple styles could be very beneficial to your team. NAWIC’s Leadership Academy is a great resource that can uncover and develop your own unique brand of transformational leadership and take your career to the next level. The Leadership Academy offers cohorts with eight weeks of on-demand curriculum.

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