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I get asked this a lot when I go around and do consulting and visits and training. So I’m going to answer that in this blog post right now. So here’s the question, do you want to know where the site manager belongs, where he or she ranks and how it fits into the system? If so, you came to the right place. So this will help you if you want to be one, if you want to know how to interact with site managers, and so you know, who’s really in charge of the project. So that’s fantastic information. 

Different Positions In A Construction Company me get this started off by saying, hey, there’s lots of company positions above the level of a site manager. You’ll have your typical CEO, President, COO, perhaps Director of Operations, operations managers, and in a lot of cases, their project director, and the project executive will oversee the site managers and the project manager together. I love that. That’s amazing. And let me give you a little bit of a warning here as we go, because I want to say this the position of General Site Manager, which is how I was brought up, meaning you have your director of operations, and then you have your operations manager or project director or project executive, and then GS would oversee the site manager, and the project director would oversee the project managers now I love General Site Manager and where I came from, and Hensel Phelps, when I was there, and I haven’t been there in a while. So I don’t know. But when I was there, that role was highly functioning. I mean, these were like, huge bridge builders, dam builders, like you could send them to Europe, and they would build big embassies in huge, like $500 million prisons and billion dollar data centers like these were like the lowercase g gods of the industry, right. And it worked and when they came to the project site, they were they were, well acknowledged that they weren’t easy, like they expected a lot. Now, the

Current Problems With General Site Managers role of General Site Manager has really failed in the last, I would say 15 years last decade, at least, and it continues to fail. Here’s why gentle site managers are starting to get promoted earlier and they don’t know as much. They’re not the master builders that they used to be. So when they and they and everyone has been told, hey, you know, you can’t yell or be like, dictatorial. So there’s a lot that haven’t learned proper ways to motivate and hold their team accountable. So what happens is they become buddy, buddy with all of their projects, and they become friends with the site managers. And they start to do the same thing that site managers ended up doing with trades, which is to sympathy, vote them, shield them and protect them from the project director, Project executive or Ops Manager, which is not a thing, right. So now, you’ve disconnected the PM in the site manager at the project level, you have someone playing savior throughout the organization, and it’s not driving results. And the general site managers are typically not responsible for finances. So anywhere this is happening, the General Site Manager position is being looked down on and it’s failing, well, we have to do is get back to that builder mindset, actually drive results, be responsible for the finances and hold the site manager accountable, and train them. So they perform on a higher level. So let me be clear about that. I love the position of General Site Manager it’s just not being done. Well, most of the companies revert to No, my project executive director or ops manager is in charge of the site manager and the pm because they’re so frustrated with that situation. So you can look at this, like Jason’s bad mouthing you or I’m just giving you a heads up for something that we should really watch out for. So there you go take it for what it is. But here’s the answer on the project site, technically, there’s no one

What Is Higher Than A Site Manager On A Construction Project Site? higher than the site manager from an authority perspective on the project, you could say that the project manager in some companies is higher right from a business or a chain of command standpoint. But from a practical standpoint, there’s no one higher no one more important on a project than a site manager. Now I come from the belief system that we shouldn’t have a pm over a site manager, that they should work together like to in a box where they’re combined efforts together, add up to more than what they would be if they just added the results here and here separately. And independently. I believe that I’ve seen it work. I’ve seen it work over and over. It’s a fantastic pairing if it’s done, right and I believe that it needs to be equal. Okay. So that’s the school of thought that I come from. If you go back to the book, Building the Empire State, the site manager was in charge of everyone, right and it that project worked out very well, I must say then I saw and historically I wasn’t alive during these years. But a shift to our site managers, we’re getting less and less trained and project manager started to take over. And then about 10 years ago, folks started to balance out and now ended up somewhere right here where project managers from an org chart standpoint are still shown above a site manager. I do believe that that’s a mistake. Here’s why. We have a failure to train site managers and this is not a dig I love you site managers here’s a little heart symbol. By the way, before I go into this next topic, please heart symbol this video, and subscribe right now, because we’re getting into some hard stuff. Please stay with me, I appreciate it when you do. So here’s the

Why Most Site Managers Lack Training Nowadays deal. There are fewer trained site managers nowadays than there used to be, I have witnessed this, you have witnessed this, we do not have training programs that are widespread as project managers, we do not have as many books if I go on to Amazon, and I type in Project Manager, I’ll come up with like 13 books and programs and training programs. And they have an entire institute for it right? If I type in site managers. I’ll find my book like why am I the first one in the last few centuries that has written one, there’s not a lot out there. But what we have is pretty good stuff. So there’s not a lot of training, a lot of the site managers in the industry don’t know what they’re doing. And they deserve to because they’re good people and they’re capable, right? And so what we have to do is start enticing people through these ranks. And we’re not going to do it if they realize, Oh, I’ll always be under the PM, oh, I’ll never have a seat at the table. In at the executive level, oh, I’ll never be in the leadership team. Oh, there’s not a career path for me. So we’re incentivizing people from even being good at the site manager role, because they don’t have a path. And they always know that they’re going to be number two and command instead of equal, which is what I would prefer. So from a practical standpoint, there’s no one hire, still companies have this out of balance, and they’re not equal to in a box, which they shouldn’t be. And so that is the direct answer. Because on a project site, the site manager, regardless of the support, controls, all of the acts, aspects of the performance in the field, in that position must be well trained. Let me clarify something though, from an importance from

Importance Of Workers & Foremen In Construction execution standpoint, that’s the site manager from a value and love and put on a pedestal and consider our heroes. There’s no one more important than the workers and foremen. So I’m talking about an organizational structure to execute. I’m not talking about who’s the most important person on the project site from a value standpoint, because we all know, that’s the workers in the foreman, they make the money. They’re the craftspersons. They’re the experts. It’s our job to support them. And so why am I saying this? All of you, site managers Yes, I gave you some hard news. Yes, I said, we’re

Important Reminders For Site Managers not as well trained as we should be. Yes, I said, if we have a room of site managers, you’re going to have a lower percentage of trained and competent people in that group, as if you took a same sampling from a project manager group. But I didn’t say that to insult anybody, I want it fixed. I want you to get the training you deserve. I want you to have the stature and respect that you deserve. Because it’s so important. So I’m enabling and enabling this position, we need powerful, vulnerable people in these positions in order to get this role done properly. So you must see yourself as that you have to believe that you’re that important. You have to know that you’re the head leader on the project from an execution standpoint, that will then determine, hey, I need to take care of myself, I need to leverage the team, I need the training, I need the support, I need the knowledge, I need the resources to go do my job in a remarkable manner. That is my hope for you. And so I want more confidence. I want more training, and I want more capability. I said

How We Can Train Better Site Managers I want more. There are site managers in this industry that are like Walmart security guards, they just have their gun in their holster and nothing else. And they’re just walking around asking questions and bullying people. That’s what a lot of site managers that are untrained


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