Anyone have any feelings about the relative lack of leadership skills and training in the Trades?
Having taken several courses on the subject years ago, (In non-trade related professions) and several years in the military where there were often courses on the same, I have taken note of some things that seem to be non-existent in the leadership styles of Foremen, Field Supervisors, and Project Managers. Having been the two prior, I've tried to do my part on promoting better leadership skills.
Also, what would you consider yourself to be?
An "Autocratic Leader", "My way or the highway?
A "Democratic Leader", who discusses options with subordinates, and allows options on a path to be a discussion for them?
Or a combination of both?
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
I think everyone is both at sometime or another........
Sometimes, it all depends how busy/behind you get. When you are blessed with having time, you can to persue the Democratic way. When your back is up against the wall, you find yourself being blunt and to the point.
#60116 - 12/23/0501:37 AMRe: Leadership skills in the trades...
There is no such thing as a democratic leader, that is a poll taker. A leader is the one who makes the decision and it is his way or the highway. He should be able to take advice from the troops but they don't vote. Hopefully they do figure out they are a crew but the crew has a captain.
#60117 - 12/23/0501:54 AMRe: Leadership skills in the trades...
But what happens to the captain when he's no longer the captain and now works for a new company and really has no say in the matter because he hasn't worked there as long as the others even though the former captain has more experience than the current captain?
I am usually opened minded to people's opinions on job and the way to doing them the right way and the fast way based on experience. If you have less than me than I automatically assume that you have to convince me that your way is better. I guess I am hard-headed that way but only becuase I have been done that road before and just want to get the jobs done.
[This message has been edited by ShockMe77 (edited 12-23-2005).]
#60118 - 12/23/0502:14 AMRe: Leadership skills in the trades...
"It's not a matter of voting, it's you as the leader being able to listen, and identify the problem, then finding a way to resolve it, with both parties learning from it." - Well put! Democratic doesn't mean you're voting on it, whether you're going to do it or not, just theres a discussion of how to do it. And yes, sometimes the whip must be cracked!
There are advantages and disadvantages to being one type of leader or the other, as well as being a combination of both.
For instance, a company I used to work for had myself, and another guy as foremen, with seperate crews for years. An Autocrat, and myeslf, more of a combination, but more of a Democractic leader. Guys who had worked with the Autocrat came in with a certain skill set, and so did my crew. Some interesting things got noticed when we got a new PM who scrambled the egg a bit, and moved people around.
The guys who worked for the other Foreman were robotic, and needed more supervision. And after years of doing only what, and how they were told. They were almost limited to "Drill holes, land cable, splice wire" and then you needed to tell them which wires to splice. None were exposed to the code book or other technique of doing anything.
My guys were used to kind of a "chain of command". I laid out journeymen, who then laid out out the guy below him. Deligated authority for the task to the Journymen who would be responcable for it. I would often walk poeple through code, or other questions if they asked (Even about thier side work) or if I noticed a problem. They were independant, I could leave and go to another job for a few days, come back and things would get done.
The results of the "scrambed egg", the guys from the other crew didn't want to go back. Said the learned more with me in a month that they did in years with the other guy. (They also found out that my guys made more money, cause I would often praise them to the boss, rather than blame them for every mistake, but thats a different story.)
The other Foreman didn't want to give my guys up once he had them, 'cause he didn't "have to chase them down to give them work." And he wondered why our boss kept giving me the good guys for so long.... My guys that ended up with him, later refused to work with him and either left, or came back to me. And that Foreman later left due to the Autocratic practices of the PM, and later so did I.
Anyway, my point originally was that there are Pro's and Con's to both. Even our military has realized, long ago, that there or benifits to having a combination of both, in all but direct combat. Because the loss of a centralized autocratic leader often led to the death of whole battalions. (And mutiny) Overly democratic, although promoting inititive and independace, lacked total coordination for large scale operations. They found a combination of both, rank to rank, down the chain of command to be better. And the birth of the "Direct Order" Autocratic mode, and the "General Order/Directive" Democratic mode.
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
#60121 - 12/23/0512:18 PMRe: Leadership skills in the trades...
I'm more "Democratic", but I'm sure you have to flip-flop depending on the situation.
I am not one of the best "big" job runners, but I do well with 4-6 man crews on design-build, "on-the-fly" type jobs. I give myself credit for originally recruiting several people who have become integral to our outfit, even though they don't work under me anymore.
I did find out one time that there is a wrong time to use the phrase, "anyone that doesn't like it can hit the gate".
#60122 - 12/23/0507:17 PMRe: Leadership skills in the trades...