Teaching foremen to ask the right questions

The construction industry is facing a shortage of effective, seasoned frontline leaders. We need inexperienced foremen to become effective leaders… quickly! 

The best foremen plan work, anticipate problems and address team issues before they escalate. Inexperienced foremen are often a step behind, waiting for direction and reacting to problems after they occur. This means less productivity, lower morale and added work for superintendents.

At Humanus Solutions we believe leadership is a set of habits – ways of thinking and acting – that must be taught and reinforced each and every day.

Twelve Questions that Build Better Foremen

Young leaders cannot know the answer to every question – but if we train them to ask the right questions, they’re more likely to see trouble coming before it creates delays on the job.

Here are twelve questions we recommend foremen ask themselves each day:

In the morning, before the crew meeting:

  • What’s my crew’s goal for today? What, specifically will we get done?
  • Who am I counting on to achieve that goal? Have I given them clear instructions and specific expectations? 
  • What’s “plan-B” if we run into a roadblock?
  • If someone was going to get hurt today, how might it happen?

Just before going to lunch:

  • Are we on track to achieve our goal for today? What can I do to help?
  • What’s my crew’s goal for tomorrow? What can I do this afternoon to set us up for success? 
  • What’s something I can do motivate or teach someone on my crew this afternoon?
  • What can I do to support the least experienced person on my crew this afternoon?

Just before clocking out for the day:

  • Did we achieve our goal for today? If not, what could I have done differently?
  • What’s the hardest task we’ve got ahead of us in the next two weeks?
  • Do our work areas, equipment and toolboxes look professional and orderly?
  • Who did a good job today and how will I praise / appreciate them tomorrow?

Choosing the questions is less important than building the habit of asking good questions. If you want to try this with your team, be sure to engage them in coming up with the questions and the times to ask them. Be sure to engage superintendents and general foremen in the conversation. Most importantly, make sure to follow-up: and encourage, expect and praise young foremen for asking questions and taking action. 

Download our guide for building better foremen by teaching them to ask good questions: click HERE.

Interested in learning more? Ready to accelerate the development of your frontline leaders? Contact Andy Erickson on (206) 218-7962 or at aerickson@humanus-solutions.com

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