The Great Recession became official in December 2007, and by its end, more than 8.8 million jobs had been lost — 2 million in the construction sector alone.

But times change, and after the massive battering, the industry is starting to bounce back. Construction spending is up, projects are more plentiful and optimism is starting to sneak its way in. But now, there’s another problem — a shortage of workers, because so many left the industry to find employment elsewhere.

To see how widespread the shortage of skilled labor is, SmartBrief and the Associated General Contractors of America conducted a poll. The findings were interesting. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How well do you balance the workload among the members of your team?

  • Very well — work is allocated fairly and effectively: 28.57%
  • Well — work allocations are fair for the most part: 61.9%
  • Not well — work allocations are often unfair and ineffective: 7.79%
  • Poorly — I have a great deal of difficulty allocating work: 1.73%

5 Considerations for Work Allocation. Balancing workload across your team is tricky business. As you do so, you need to consider 5 major aspects of workload distribution before you dole out assignments: priority, skill, availability, professional development, and personal interest. In considering all five of those elements you’ll not only allocate work more efficiently and effectively but you’ll also be building the skills of the members of your team in the process. (read more…)

If you are a sucker for great leadership movies like I am — “Invictus,” “Coach Carter” and “Moneyball,” just to name a few — it’s easy to assume that all leaders embody the same qualities as those in the movies.

After all, who hasn’t idealized business leaders to be strong, confident, make tough decisions and stand their ground no matter what? While those leaders do exist, they are a minority. In working with leaders for 30 years, I have found that the reality is shockingly different.

Most leaders take on their roles with the greatest of positive intentions. Yet, along the way, they get lost. Not by conscious choice. Rather they are derailed by an underlying dysfunctional pattern called co-dependency.

Co-dependency is a set of beliefs and behaviors that prevent individuals from having healthy, mutually beneficial relationships. At first glance, the term “co-dependent leader” seems like an oxymoron, yet this dysfunctional behavioral pattern is rampant within the business world. (read more…)

Leaders should show a sense of vulnerability.

This is advice I have given to many senior leaders because it shows a sense of humanity and openness, even transparency. It brings people to them because it shows that the senior leader does not have all the answers.

But does this advice apply to those in middle management and below? The answer is yes, but! Leaders who understand their limitations but know how to solve problems are those that senior leaders look to give greater levels of responsibility.

  (read more…)

I recently returned from a whirlwind vacation that included visiting three of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. As much as I tried to “go off the grid,” forget about work and enjoy the surroundings, my mind remained on autopilot, constantly scanning for outstanding presenters. I wasn’t let down; in fact I had a couple of terrific tour guides who created what I like to call “breakthrough moments” where they truly connected with their audience.

More than a lecture about lava

My husband and I joined a varied group of vacationers on a 17-mile bike ride around the crater of an active volcano on the Big Island. Meghan, our tour guide, was a young geologist. At first, she seemed to be pushing information out to us instead of connecting with us. Once we arrived at the crater, however, she got into her element as she shared her vast knowledge about Kilauea, the volcanic rock and the local mythology associated with it. (read more…)