If you’ve ever felt unsure about what it takes to inspire your people during a moment of change, confusion or crisis in your organization, you are not alone. Every construction leader will at some point in their career experience the pressure to offer some sort of inspiration to their team amid a time of uncertainty. Some rise to the occasion. Others hesitate – unsure of what to say and afraid of how what they have to say may be received.
This isn’t a new problem. Leaders throughout the ages have wrestled with the challenge of cultivating renewed motivation and focus in their people. But somewhere along the way, many contemporary leaders abandoned the leadership wisdom from earlier eras.
At Arrowhead, one of the ways our construction leadership coaching programs differ from other leadership coaching offerings is our passion for reclaiming ancient leadership wisdom and applying it to the challenges of our contemporary construction industry.
For example, one of the qualities we encourage our clients to develop isn’t talked about too much in modern leadership literature but has been a consistent attribute of the most effective leaders in history. Something call “watchfulness”.
As leaders in the construction industry – and in any industry for that matter – one of the best ways we can inspire others is through the authentic inspiration that comes from within ourselves and from the experiences we encounter immediately around us every day. Cultivating that attention to ourselves, our inner lives and to our experiences is what ancient wisdom writers called watchfulness.
We can grow as leaders and inspire our construction teams by growing in watchfulness.
Becoming Students of Our Own Lives
At any given time, there is so much going on inside us and around us that we can learn from. And much of that learning we can share with others. In fact, some of the most effective counsel we can offer to our teams may be something we learned for ourselves just 24 hours earlier. The more, therefore, we can become students of our own lives, the more we will have to pass on to others.
A lot of leaders – especially younger or newer leaders – doubt they have much from their own personal experience and insight they can use to inspire and guide others to elevate performance. But cookie-cutter lessons from popular books rarely engage and motivate people to change. Rather, it is authentic, genuine insight borne from personal experience and communicated in ways that others can easily relate to that your team will remember and act upon. In other words, if we become students of our own lives then we constantly have something real, something tried and tested to pass along – something our teams will remember and apply.
In our current times, when we hear of leaders labelled “ignorant” or “tone deaf”, chances are we are hearing of leaders who need to grow in watchfulness
When construction leaders are deeply attuned to the needs of their clients and deeply engaged in shifting their organizations to meet those needs, they are practicing watchfulness.
When we see business owners, project managers and supervisors modelling humility, admitting their failures, and making amends for past wrongs, we are seeing watchfulness in practice.
As a construction leader on site or in the office, the best advice and inspiration you have to offer is you – your example, your perspective, your authenticity, and your unique experiences. You can unlock your inner wisdom by learning the ancient leadership practice of watchfulness.