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Tips for Contractors: The Difference Between Reacting and Responding

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Contractors must be effective leaders if they want to succeed in their profession. Leading others is never easy. Differences in opinions can cause contractors to clash with employees and subcontractors leading to increased costs, missed deadlines, and, sometimes, legal complications. The manner in which a contractor chooses to conduct him or herself can have a staggering effect on their workforce. When productivity starts to diminish or a team becomes disgruntled, contractors have two options for dealing with the issue; they can either react or respond.

On the surface, these two terms are almost identical. They share virtually identical definitions, but their connotations are anything but similar. In this article, the Hillsborough County construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law will explain the difference between reacting and responding and provide contractors with tips for maintaining control of their workforce.

There’s Very Little Thought in a Reaction

Generally, we have very little control over the way we react to things. When a spider crawls up someone’s leg, they often react by frantically trying to shake the spider off. This isn’t a conscious decision because fear drives this action. There’s very little thinking involved.

Incidents in the construction industry often follow a very similar narrative. For example, when a contractor discovers that a worker has failed to wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), they can either react frantically by trying to aggressively solve the problem or they can choose to formulate an effective response to correct the problem for good. Sure, the contractor is worried about the safety of the employee and the legal complications that result from poorly managed workers, but screaming at them or belittling them isn’t the solution. It will fix the problem in the short-term, but there is a strong possibility that this response will leave the wrong type of lasting impression on the worker. Contractors must focus on educating workers, not disciplining. After all, the construction industry is already facing a labor shortage, so most contractors can’t afford to lose more employees.

Logic is the Foundation of an Effective Response

When emotions come into play on the project site, workers become distressed and unable to complete their assigned tasks. Many jobs on the construction site require repetitive actions over a long period of time which affords these workers more time to fixate on the contractor’s reaction to a misstep. This can cause the worker to spite the contractor. Conversely, when a contractor decides to respond to the worker’s accident by using it as an opportunity to educate them, both parties benefit. The contractor retains their employee, addresses the problem, future-proofs the worker against similar problems, and earns their respect. Contractors who train themselves to respond, not react, are more successful.

If you would like to speak with a Hillsborough County construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.