How To | Be a Better Leader

The war for top talent in the building services industry is well underway, and companies are all seeking that special edge that will attract and retain top performers.

You can be that edge.

Through strong leadership, you can generate the type of reputation for your team and company that high performers will compete to work for while driving down turnover by earning the steadfast loyalty of your existing team.

Superb leadership is a set of skills that can be learnt like any other. Here are some of the ways you can become known as a great leader and attract high-calibre employees to your building services team.

Treat candidates and employees with respect from day one.

Make the application and interview process as easy and pleasant as possible, as this is the candidate’s first impression of what you are like to work for.

When a candidate accepts your offer, begin the onboarding process before their first day so that they feel well-prepared and welcome when they join the team.


Become a storyteller

Skilled leaders know that humans are hard-wired to respond to stories- it’s how we communicate, teach and inspire each other most effectively.

So when you’re talking about goals with the team or explaining to the candidate what it’s like to work for the company, try to frame your message in a story.

It might be geeing the team up with a story of a team who succeeded in hitting a construction deadline against the odds or telling the candidate about the company’s CEO who started out as a chippie and still loves getting out onsite.


Be loyal to the culture

Talk about culture with your candidates, and be sure to live by it with every employee who comes into your team.

For example, if you are dealing with a very talented but difficult team member who is bullying someone, yet your intended culture is one of respect and inclusiveness, you’ll realise that you can’t afford to sacrifice your great workplace culture for one individual, and your decision is thereby easier to make.


Consider how the job is affecting employees on a deeper level.

Every time your employees do overtime or get sick from chasing a deadline, you should be aware of the impact the job is having on them.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t ask them to do overtime or work hard for deadlines, just that great leaders are always aware of what they’re asking in times of pressure, and try to make efforts to balance it out somewhere else.

Flexible working arrangements, childcare options, better vacation packages, etc. are all things that can make a meaningful improvement to employees’ lives and make them, in turn, more engaged and loyal to the company.


Adapt and keep your cool

You’re all working on a project, only to find there’s a budget overrun or a client changes their mind on the design, and you’re suddenly really up against it. 

As a leader of a building services team, there is nothing more important than displaying adaptability and positive calm in this kind of situation, thereby signalling to the team that they can adapt to the change too.

Someone who loses their head in stressful moments sends a message to the team that things are not under control.

This is when mistakes start to cascade as everyone feels the stress and starts making individual decisions on how to progress without strong central leadership. On a worksite, this can be disastrous.


Don’t overpromise

It’s devilishly easy to promise, not so easy to deliver- particularly if obstacles crop up. In building services, there are so many variables that it doesn’t pay to promise too much, instead agree on a reasonable, attainable goal and then knock the socks off them by delivering more.

They’ll be happier with you to get a surprise at the end than they ever would be if you promised it at the beginning, and you’re also giving yourself some leeway in case something goes wrong.


Develop your feedback skills

The art of giving feedback in a helpful way is something that can take a bit of practice getting used to, but scheduling regular feedback sessions will have you a pro in no time.

Also, ask for feedback on your leadership style—it’s scary at first, but incredibly helpful.


Show your passion

When we’re new leaders, we can feel it’s a bit ‘weird’ to show our passion for our jobs. Embrace it and be yourself, as genuine passion is one of the most infectious, positive leadership traits you can display.


Communicate simply

Whether running a meeting with the engineers, writing a report, or pitching your design project to the client, keep things concise and simple.

Far too many leaders speak in gobbledegook, thinking that complex words and concepts impress, but far too often they confuse and even frustrate. Cut through the noise with plain English and minimum fuss.


Be human

The days of distant leadership are done. Ask people how they are; ask after their dog or the kids or their latest holiday. Loyal and long-lasting relationships are built on human emotion, not budget discussions.


Admit your mistakes and play fair

Nothing undermines the respect and loyalty of your team faster than a leader who hides their mistakes or plays favourites. Honesty and fairness drive loyalty.


Say thanks. A lot.

It makes your employees feel great to hear it; it makes you feel great to say it. Say thanks as much as you can, and you’ll soon be known as a great person to work for.


It is in your hands to attract the best players in the building services industry by becoming a better leader.

If you’re looking to attract exceptional employees to your team, our specialist building services recruitment service can help.

Email us here or call on 01743 247774 for a friendly, no-obligation discussion about your recruitment needs.