Whether you’re a recently promoted, or a long time Foreman, one mistake that seems to be made often, is not separating yourself from the crew and the actual work.
I often find myself fighting the temptation to jump in with the crew and "go to work". Before you hop in to bail your crew out, you should really think about the repercussions of your actions. Is this the best use of your time? As the supervisor of the crew, you need to know your role. This means you’re responsible for more than just completing the work. You need to track schedules, budgets, and quality. It's impossible to do all these things if you’re pounding nails with your crew.
Next time you think about grabbing your tools and jumping in with your crew, ask yourself the following questions:
• Are we on schedule?
• Are we meeting budget?
• Have we done everything we can to prevent re-work?
• Does the crew have everything they need to complete today's tasks: layout, tools, equipment, material, manpower, and so forth?
• Have you planned the next list of tasks thoroughly: sequence, subcontractors, materials, and so forth?
Chances are, if you’ve answered no to any of these questions, you should not be using your time helping out the crew with their tasks. As supervisors we need to change our mindsets from craft-worker to business professionals. One of the most important things in the business mindset, is to distance yourself from the hands on work and look at the overall scope. Getting caught up in the work happening right now, only takes away from the planning and focus needed to set your crew up for success.