There is significant focus on the need for people working with the built environment to develop new technology skills or at least keep abreast of how innovative technology is changing skill demands. But let’s not forget the fundamental soft skills which are crucial within this fast paced environment.
Here’s a look at top 5 soft skills within the built environment.
- Communication: a vital skill for construction, regardless of the of discipline or skill level.
Good communication skills are vital, as there are so many different layers of teams working together, particularly on-site. Types of communication will vary from clear, concise instructions to buyer negotiations. It may appear the most basic skill to identify but good communication skills will always sit at the very centre of an efficient project. How do you rate your communication skills? Or do you take this skill for granted? Perhaps it’s time review how effective you really are at communicating.
- Teamwork: there’s probably no other industry which relies so heavily on good teamwork.
Underpinning any construction project is a team. Being able to work successfully with others is absolutely crucial within the built environment. Good teamwork comes from understanding each other’s role and appreciation of tasks, challenges and the moving parts which help bring a project together. The most successful hunter, in terms of kill per hunt, is undoubtedly the wolf, why are they so successful? Wolves hunt as a team, each one knowing their own role and how their performance impacts the pack.
- Commercial awareness: being commercially aware is an asset at all levels
Being able to show that you that you have an understanding of the market place in which a business or service operates and an understanding of what makes a business successful is a key requirement in most occupations and most certainly helps career progression. Five key points to ensure you are commercially aware:
- understand the organisation’s mission and aims
- are aware of the major competitors
- understand the commercial priorities of the organisation
- understand the importance of a good work ethic
- are aware of the political and economic issues affecting the organisation
- Problem solving: essential whether you are a surveyor, architect, manager or engineer
Problem solving is used on a daily basis in the construction industry: from dealing with the unexpected, such as burst water pipes, to minimising delays or scheduling multiple deliveries on-site. All problems have two features in common, goals and barriers.
Problems involve setting out to achieve some objective or desired state of affairs and can include avoiding a situation or event. If there were no barriers in the way of achieving a goal, then there would be no problem. Problem solving involves overcoming the barriers or obstacles that prevent the immediate achievement of goals.
- Time management: every member of the project team needs this skill
Construction projects require effective organisation and time management if they are to be delivered to budget and on time. Time management is simply being organised, creating a schedule and keeping to it, this will ensure deadlines are not missed or at least identify any possible delays. It’s a skill that is often taken for granted or overlooked but time management is crucial and is very much linked with good communication.