Category Archives: Leadership

Empathy is Imperative – Construction Leadership

Expressing genuine empathy is critical to being a successful leader, salesperson and coworker.  Want to lose someone’s confidence?  Show them you’re more focused on short term productivity, closing the deal or getting what you want in spite of their wants and needs – professionally or personally.

Listen to understand , then respond.

When in conversation, how often are we preparing our response well before the other person has finished speaking?  In our fast paced culture we can forget that we must listen first to understand then to respond.  It’s the old joke you heard from your grandmother about God giving you two ears and one mouth.  When we rush ahead we leave the other person feeling undervalued.  Who would want to do that to a direct report, client or coworker?  I have learned the phrase “listen to understand and validate” or LUV.  We can’t help a client or coworker until we understand where they’re coming from and what they need.  We can then top that off by letting them know we have heard and understand their frustration, concern or need, i.e. the validation.

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes, “To relate effectively with a spouse, child, friend or coworker, we must learn to listen.  And this requires emotional strength.  Listening involves patience, openness, and the desire to understand – highly developed qualities of character.”

In the tough and fast paced construction industry, may we all aspire to show one another the respect and kindness of listening to understand.


Read about Level 5 Leaders Here.




Robert Jones Serves as Field Supervisor for AMPIS Drilling School

We would like to recognize our General Superintendent, Robert Jones, for serving as Field Supervisor for the Anchor and Micropile Installation School (AMPIS).  ADSC annually puts on AMPIS to better the drilling skills of those in our industry.

To learn more about ADSC’s training opportunities, visit ADSC-IAFD

level 5 leadership pyramid

Are you a Level 5 Leader?

Leading in the Construction Industry


Jim Collins in “Good to Great” defines Level 5 Leaders as those who blend personal humility with intense professional will.  While Collin’s team didn’t set out to focus on leadership, during their research they observed that Level 5 leaders were at the helm of every Good to Great company during their transition to greatness.   The difference between Level 4’s  and Level 5’s is one of direction.  While Level 4’s are effective, they focus inwardly on success.  Level 5’s use their immense energy to forward the larger cause rather than themselves.  Unlike conventional wisdom that may seek a larger than life CEO, successful companies require leaders that are a blend of personal humility and fierce resolve.

Unlike their Level 4 counterparts, Level 5’s see the future of their organizations as being brighter after their departure.  They work hard to set up their successor to be even more successful.  Rather than quick returns and personal accolades, Level 5’s seek to create an enduring organization.

While humble and outwardly looking, Level 5’s have a strong professional will to do what must be done to move the organization forward.  They are fanatically driven to produce results.  With high standards, Level 5’s often set aside tradition and nepotism to recruit the best possible team members.  They will change with the times and rebuild as needed.

Harry S. Truman said, “You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.”

Our entire team gets credit for all of our project accomplishments. You can see them here.

Recommended reading: “Built to Last” and “Good to Great” by Jim Collins

Leadership Development

Recently our Regional Managers, Alex Smith, PE and Jodie Nixon, PE, attended the Bell Leadership Institute’s Achievers™ conference in Raleigh, NC.  The Bell Leadership Institute is a leading organization in executive education and development helping organizations through its programs and services since 1972.  The focus of the Achievers™ conference is “become a great leader by building yourself first”.  The three-day training conference is designed to help you lead like the best in the world with a deep understanding of your personal strengths, weaknesses and motivations.

The training program is based on a half century of research and consulting with thousands of leaders across the world.  Achievers™ is unlike other programs in that it goes deeper, providing key understandings of why you behave as you do. Knowing yourself deeply and how your behaviors affect others enables you to develop your unique leadership style.  With Bell’s model, personal assessments and those from invited colleagues, attendees are provided with a deep understanding of their behaviors, thought patterns and then a plan for developing into a well-balanced leader.

“I am glad that I invested the time to go through the Achievers™ training program.  I was encouraged by receiving a better understanding of my strengths and challenged to make improvements with a better understanding of my weaknesses.  My eyes were opened and I now have a better understanding of why I think and behave certain ways.  With knowledge, the path of improvement is much easier to follow.  I would encourage other companies to invest in their team members with Bell’s Achievers™ program.” – Jodie Nixon, PE

To learn more about this program visit