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Unit 7 Improving Managerial Skills within a Construction Environment

 


 

Introduction

 

7.1 Managing Oneself

 

7.2 Managing Others 

 

7.3 Communications

 

 


 

 

Information and Guidance is available from the ‘Student Area’.

 

 
 
 

 

Learning outcome: On completion the learner will know how to manage them self.

 


 
IMPORTANT
 
An assignment is being used for this Unit.
 
Details on how to produce the assignment is included on the form, which you should down-load from the column on the left by clicking on "Assignment for Unit 7" and from the “Submitting Assignment” Page from the “Student Area”.

 

 

 


 

 

Contents

 

7.1.1 Conduct and behaviour
7.1.2 Dealing with problems
7.1.3 Decision Making
7.1.4 Time Management
 
 

Book


There is no recommended book for this section

 

 

7.1.1 Conduct and behaviour

Before you are able to manage others you must be able to manage yourself. You cannot ask people to be disciplined and behave in a responsible way if you are not able to do so yourself. You will therefore need to set an example for others to follow as the people working for you must respect you.

To gain their respect you will need to have a good standard of behaviour, one which others will look up to. It will be you who sets the standard of conduct for those who are working with you. 

When dealing with people you must be self controlled in that you must be able to detach yourself and look at situations impassionately and not fly into a rage. Another quality that you will need is to be fair and consistent so that the people working for you will know where they stand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Task 7.1.1 Problems

 

 

Discus the problems that could occur under the following situations:

 

 

  • You lose your temper if someone brings you some bad or informs you of a problem.
  • You do not treat people fairly without favour or bias
  • You are not very punctual 

 

 

Word Guide: 300 – 400

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.1.2 Dealing with problems

One of the things that you will need to be able to do is deal with problems. Problems tend to fall into a number of categories.

  1. Diagnostic – e.g.  working on what’s gone wrong with something and then producing a solution
  2. Design – e.g. identifying what needs to be done to develop a product or system then planning how it will be done
  3. Contingency – e.g. organising an event, who does what, when, how

 

The way that a problem is approached is to:

  1. Analyse the current situation - what is the problem and why is it a problem.
  2. Define your objectives - what are you trying to achieve.
  3. Determine the reasons for the problem - How did the problems occur and what actions will eradicate it.
  4. Develop a solution strategy and alternatives - What courses of action are available which will get rid of the problem.
  5. Compare your strategy to your objectives - will the courses of action available achieve your objectives.
  6. Decide on the best option and implement.

 

Having analysed the problem you will need to come up with possible solutions, this will require you to generate ideas. It is often better to enlist the help of other people who may be able to contribute ideas either from having a different perspective or from their experience. It is worth knowing however the following:

 

  • What seems like new ideas are the result of making new combinations of old ideas.
  • Things change so fast that we can't solve today's problems with yesterday's answers.
  • There's almost always more than one right answer.
  • Sometimes we must unlearn what we know. Instead of assuming you know the answer, wait until you gather all the facts.
  • Look at things the same as everyone else, but think differently.

Section 7.1.3 below details some of the techniques that can be used in reaching a decision.

Once possible solutions have been identified you will need to produce an action plan to deal with the matter. This will:

 

  • Outline what the outcome is,
  • Who is responsible,
  • How the job will be monitored,
  • What the resources are, and
  • When the deadline is.
  • Document your plan

When dealing with problems it is always a good idea to have a contingency plan as things rarely go according to plan.

 
 

Task 7.1.2 Dealing with Problems

 

Give an example of a problem that you had and the way you approached it in order to find a solution. Would you change this approach for future problems?

Word Guide: 300 – 400

 

 

7.1.3 Decision Making

In order to solve a problem you must be able to make decisions as it is inevitable that you will have to decide on a course of action. The Procedure for reaching a decision and ensuring that it is the right one is set out below:

 

  • Ensure you understand the purpose of making the decision, and what you are intending to achieve.
  • Ensure you know the limit of your authority, and whether the decision is yours alone, or if it has to be approved by a superior.
  • Collect information and facts relevant to the decision to be made. Is all information available or will a survey or research need to be done?
  • Consult with the people who have had to make similar decisions to obtain their opinions and ideas, and consult those who your decision will effect.
  • Consider the options without bias, balance the pros and cons.
  • Techniques such as discussion, algorithms or decision trees may be used.
  • Decide on a course of action and assess that such a course would meet your objectives.
  • Communicate your decision to all those who are involved.
  • Implement the carrying out of the decision, ensuring it is being carried out according to your intention.
  • Monitor progress and ensure you obtain all feedback in order to deal with any problems which may occur. Monitor progress and ensure you obtain all feedback in order to deal with any problems which may occur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decision Making Process

 

Consider:

 

  • Collect the facts
  • Clarify Authority
  • Decided information needed
  • Other resources - Do you need to conduct a survey etc

 

 

 

Consult

 

  • Identify those affected
  • Check out ideas
  • Consider their opinions and views

 

 

Make the Decision

 

  • Delegate if appropriate
  • Choose techniques
  • Reassess Priorities
  • Consider the options
  • Choose the best

 

 

 

Communicate your decision

 

  • What you have decided
  • Why you have chosen  that course of action
  • When will it happen
  • How your decision will be implemented
  • Who will be affected
  • Will there be any changes, what will they be.

 

 

 

Implementation

 

  • Set key dates
  • Monitor progress and feedback
  • Smooth out problems

 

 

 

 

 

Decision Making Processes

Techniques

A number of techniques can be used to assist in the decision making process, these are listed below.

 

  • Brainstorming
  • SWOT analyses
  • Risk Assessment
  • Flow Charts
  • What if …..?
  • Force-field analysis
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Taking different viewpoints
  • Mind maps
  • Time lines
  • Decision trees

 

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is the term used for the process of gathering a list of ideas contributed by members of a group.

Technique

 

  • People make suggestions which are noted
  • All suggestions are welcome regardless of how silly they may sound as they may lead on to other suggestions.

 

 

SWOT analyses

SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. It provides a framework for reviewing strategy, position and direction.

Technique

 

  • Assess the position related to each of the above headings in order to understand the situation and how these affect the problem.

 

 

Risk Assessment

The examination of the situation to determine what can go wrong and what needs to be done to reduce the risk of things going wrong.

Technique

 

  • Determine the things that could go wrong
  • Determine the consequences and the chance of these happening
  • Suggest ways to reduce the likelihood of these happening

 

Flow Charts (Process Charts)

 

  • Highlights the key steps in a process by helping to:
  • Showing how the different stages relate to each other
  • Identify where the process could be improved – by removing unnecessary stage
  • Identify the sequence of operation.

Technique

 

  • List the processes
  • Classify each process
  • Arrange them in the sequence they take place
  • Draw flow chart

 

 

 

What if?

 

  • A way of getting different angles on a problem
  • A good question to ask yourself or others
  • Determining possible problems before they occur.

Technique

 

  • Ask this of all the options you or others can think of
  • Look at the possible consequences

 

 

Force-field analysis

Looks at the forces either driving or restraining situations

Technique

 

  • Define the current situation
  • Define the desired situation
  • Identify forces driving change
  • Identify forces restraining change
  • Consider what can be done to:
    • Make the most positive forces
    • Limit the effect of negative forces
  • Identify goals to take the process forward

 

 

 

Cost-benefit analysis

 

  • A technique for comparing and evaluating opinion
  • Used to determine whether the cost of an option outweighs the likely benefit.

Technique

 

  • Identify all costs involved with the option
  • Identify all benefits - financial and non-financial
  • Calculate the financial costs and benefits
  • Determine which brings the greater benefits cost wise and overall.

 

 

Taking different viewpoints

 

  • No two people look at a problem in the same way
  • A problem for one person may not be for another
  • Different people will look at things from a different viewpoint.

Technique

 

  • Look at  the situation from someone who has a different point of interest
  • What would you do if you were in their position?

 

 

 

Mind Maps

 

  • Utilises the fact that the brain works by linking key concepts together
  • Shows visually different ways of tackling a problem

Technique

 

  • Using a blank piece of paper or white board, put the problem in the centre
  • Thinking of different parts of the problem put them around the problem linked by a line
  • Draw lines to where there are other links
  • Parts of the problem can be approached in the same way

 

 

Time lines

These can show:

 

  • The sequence of activities
  • How long each one lasts
  • How activities relate to one another on a timescale

Technique

 

  • List activities
  • Place in order of occurrence 
  • Show time for each event and interval between

 

 

 

 

Decision trees

Shows the options in visual form

Technique

 

  • Identify the different options available
  • Draw a small square at the left hand side of a piece of paper
  • Working towards the right insert courses of action with a line from the square
  • If the result is another decision needs to be made another square is drawn and other lines from it
  • If the result is uncertain a circle is drawn and a number of diagonal lines to show the possible outcomes

 

 
 

Task 7.1.3 Decision Making

 

Selecting three types of problems discus the type of technique that you could use to assist you in making a decision.

Word Guide: 300 – 400

 

 

7.1.4 Time Management

As a manager in construction one of the most precious commodities we have is Time. Projects must run to time or financial penalties will in incurred. Failure to control the time aspects will also mean that the project will become disorganised or require a lot of managing, consequently it must be managed in order to make the most of the time available.  This will have been looked at in Units 1 and 2 related to planning and control but in order to manage the time for the project you must be able to manage yourself and get the most of the time you have in organising and running a job. In order to do that we need to understand the main factors relating to time and the problems that can occur if we do not consider these.

 

Penalties of being a bad time manager

 

  • Failure to achieve the aim or objective;    
  • People forget what they are supposed to be doing;
  • Things get done in the wrong order;
  • People may be regarded as incompetent;
  • Subordinates will suffer

 

 

Problems with time

 

  • Wasting time in needless discussions or distractions;
  • Allowing interruptions;
  • Not saying NO to a new task;
  • Trying to do everything NOW;
  • Not sorting priorities
  • Not planning work.

 

 

Techniques for Improving Time Management

 

  • Plan and prioritise tasks
  • Deciding what is urgent or important
  • Scheduling and prioritising work
  • Use of a diary or organiser

 

 

‘To Do’ List

One way of organising our self and the planning what needs to be done is to produce a ‘To Do’ list as shown below.

 

 

 

Organise the Office or Desk Space

Organising the office and desk can also help as it enables you to find documents and have a system for dealing with things, you should consider:

 

  • A clear desk policy – Don’t pile papers on the desk but have a place for everything, this will enable you to find things and not have things forgotten under a pile of papers or get lost by being mixed up with other things.
  • In, Pending, and Out trays ensure that things are dealt with and then filed when they have been dealt with.

 

 

Dealing with Interruptions

 

  • Interruptions should be kept as short as possible - Put a time limit to the interruption (e.g. "Matthew, I'm sorry I can only give you 5 minutes at the moment).
  • Avoid being distracted, try and stick to the point - Don't be aggressive, but be assertive when the situation calls for it.
  • Try and postpone interruptions whenever possible; (e.g. "I'm sorry Ian, I've a deadline to meet by 1230. Can you come back after lunch?)

 

 

Delegating Work

It is essential that you are able to delegate work as this will enable you to concentrate on other tasks and make the most of your time.  Delegation will be looked at in 7.2 ‘Managing Others’.

 

 

 

Task 7.1.4 Managing Time

 

Give two examples where you had problems with managing your time and suggest things you could have done to alleviate the difficulties you had.

Word Guide: 300 – 400

 

 

 

 

Section Complete

You have now completed this section of Unit 7. You may now move on to the next Section by clicking on the ‘L4-7.2 Managing Others’ link below.

 

 


 

 

L4-7.2 Managing Others

 
 
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