Why leading with humility is more effective than leading without it.
We all want to get the job done, especially in the field of construction. We want better numbers, higher production, greater yield. It’s no secret that a big part of what we love about this industry is the straightforward nature of the work—creating something out of nothing, combined with the challenge of how to do it safer, better, faster.
There may be doubt that production drives development, but how do you get there? What makes one team more effective than the next?
Jr. project manager Matt Aberle takes a few minutes to talk about what it’s like to be a project manager. With an undeniable commitment to supporting his crew, Matt’s focus on others is the first sign of a humble leader.
Matt grew up on the family farm doing manual labor. Enduring the cold winters of North Dakota, he developed a love for working outside and working with his hands, which later translated to a career in construction. His close family includes three uncles who surrounded him with a sense of responsibility to others and taught him to finish what he started.
After graduating from North Dakota State with a degree in Construction Management, Matt came on board with KLE. His most recent work is on the Bismarck Airport wildlife wetland and mitigation project, where he works alongside his teammates to coordinate subs and communicate with the engineers and mitigation teams.
Here’s three ways humility expresses itself in Matt’s leadership style and makes him more effective as he grows in his project leadership role:
#1: He Gives Credit To Others
“I love being outside, out on the field with the guys. It’s my responsibility to make sure they can do their job, so it’s important that I understand what’s going on and what they need.”
Matt may have the role of manager, but he sees his crews as the real heroes of the project. “I have to make sure that when people are here ready to work, there’s nothing on the back end holding them up,” he says. “Whether I need to make calls, get permits, or deal with the city—I need to have those details done ahead of time so my crew can take action when it’s time.”
#2: He Sees Himself As Always Learning
Even with a farming background, a construction degree, and experience building oil refineries and energy projects, Matt sees himself as someone who is constantly learning. “I eventually want to be in upper-management or own my own business, but I’ve got a long way to go to get there.”
Matt’s attitude is that the only way to gain the knowledge he needs is to work around those who can teach him. “A lot of these guys have been here longer than I have, so I can rely on them to teach me things I don’t know.”
#3: He Takes Responsibility for His Mistakes
While the project at Bismarck is going smoothly, Matt will be the first to own any unforeseen events. “It’s on me to deal with any changes we face in a cost- and time-saving way,” he says.
“If a problem comes up, I’ve got to address it as quickly and effectively as possible so my crew doesn’t lose time.”
Humility Underlies Our Values
At KLE we believe in humility. Humility isn’t typically what people think of when it comes to managers, leaders or even construction crews, but we’ve found that humility is a more effective leadership strategy—driving up productivity—than its opposite. Humility is something that accompanies each of the KLE values, because it’s the way we want to operate in all things.
That’s why we’re grateful for team members who embodied the KLE values long before they got here, like Matt Aberle.
Are you a leader who takes a humble approach to getting effective results? If so, check out our careers page at https://kleconstruction.net/careers/.