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Management Style is the Crux to Design & Construction Team Success

Management Style is the Crux to Design & Construction Team Success
With the emphasis lately on increasing one’s self-awareness and emotional intelligence, it’s important to remember that even if your leader is great, your team may still be struggling under his/her leadership.  That’s the case sometimes when the management style of the leader isn’t a good fit. If successful leadership begins with self-awareness, then it’s safe to assume a successful team begins with awareness of management style. Understanding your team and knowing what they need in terms of a mentor, manager, and problem-solver is critical. 
At Helbling, we attract and secure leaders in construction and real estate. We gauge the individual we are looking for by considering the type of management style our client’s team needs for guidance, vision, output, balance, etc. In the construction and development world, many factors can impact the type of manager who will most effectively lead a design and construction team, such as:
  • new techniques and technologies,
  • short- and long-term initiatives and goals,
  • department transitions and restructuring,
  • team tenure, and
  • internal culture and politics – to name a few. 

While the most successful teams are led by individuals who embody a combination of management styles and have the awareness to know when to apply each during the various phases of the project, most people have one style that is dominant. 

Below are three common management styles seen in leaders of design and construction teams and examples of scenarios calling for an emphasis on one over the others. 

1.) Authoritative

Authoritative managers are self-disciplined and highly organized, and they typically take control of the decision-making process. These managers are beneficial for large teams who are working on projects under tight timelines where there are many stakeholders. Characterized by abilities to make informed decisions quickly, hold their team accountable, set expectations, and create results, the authoritative manager is also valuable when the organization requires someone to right the ship.

Scenario: An organization has a high-profile, complex, multi-use development project with a high price tag and non-negotiable deadlines. Assertiveness and resilience are required personality traits in the leader overseeing the project. To ensure that all components of the project maintain their scope, remain on schedule, and stay within budget, it’s vital to have an authoritative leader at the helm. 

2.) Technical

Technical managers typically have specialized expertise and knowledge that they share readily to further develop their team members. They are effective at providing thorough explanations and are also ready and willing to get their hands dirty, excelling in dealing with issues as they arise. Technical managers can often be a major asset in terms of focusing on the details, anticipating project challenges, and pushing a project through to successful delivery.

Scenario: A company is looking to expand its capabilities and market share as they also begin a complicated project. With a young and relatively new team, the company may lack the necessary experience to take on such a project. A technical manager understands the systems and processes the organization needs, implements them, and provides the expert capabilities to drive the team toward success. 

3.) Collaborative 

The collaborative manager thrives on cultivating interpersonal relationships and developing strong networks of support. These folks like to “rally the troops” and provide a model for teams to work together cohesively. A collaborative manager identifies the strengths of individual team members and puts them in roles that allow them to apply and challenge their skills. In doing so, they empower a team and motivate individuals to achieve personal and professional growth.

Scenario: An organization’s high-profile project requires building relationships internally with the development and construction team, as well as externally with local officials and the community. With numerous factors at play, a manager with a cooperative attitude, who is a great communicator, is essential to ensure a smooth process and project delivery. 


Using situational leadership when it comes to the projects your organization has on deck is ideal for real estate developers and contractors. If you find yourself in a scenario listed above, re-evaluate your team’s strengths and weaknesses to begin your search for the authoritative, technical, or collaborative leader you need.