Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart

The master builder is dead

In bygone ages buildings were constructed by master builders. This skilled individual designed the building, hired the trades people and managed every aspect of construction. If any decisions needed to be made during construction, the master builder made them. The work was simple and the master builder was highly skilled. It worked.

For a while…

Eventually the complexity of buildings overwhelmed the ability of one person to understand all aspects of construction. Construction evolved to develop systems of communication that force the leader of a complex project to check in with both the project experts, (Fire protection, heating, electrical, etc.) and with external parties (Owners, insurers, authorities) each time an issue arises that causes a major deviation from the plan.  In this system, many of the often fatal decisions made at the end of the master builder era are avoided and more effective decisions are made by utilizing the combined expertise.

The master builder is dead in construction, but it is not dead in most workplaces.  High performance individuals are often deferred to much more than they should be. These same individuals are usually promoted into leadership without proper training, only exacerbating the problem.

A great leader seeks to get the input of key people as decisions are made because that leader is both humble about their own knowledge (or lack thereof), and aware that the involvement of more people in the process will improve the final decision while also generating more buy-in from all involved.