How to Become a Better Project Manager

February 7th, 2023

One way to become a better project manager is to learn from the best. Today, we’re diving into the insights from one of Cunningham-Limp’s most experienced PMs, Donald J Webb, P.E.

Webb started his construction career in 1984 after spending five years working for a Construction Materials/Geotechnical Engineering firm. Since then, he has had a first-hand look at how this industry’s evolved and what it takes to remain successful.

Here are his key takeaways:

Learn how to write. The best way to set yourself apart in this industry is by learning how to write and communicate effectively. “In construction management or engineering school, they may not prioritize written communication, yet this is an essential skill to master if you want to make a strong impression and advance in your career.”

Never stop learning. Regardless of your level of experience, there are always ways to improve your knowledge with many resources that allow you to train yourself. Never be afraid to ask questions, to learn from others, or to teach others what you know.

Attitude is everything. Work with people who are willing to grow and who will do whatever it takes to achieve a common goal. Don’t be threatened by people in the industry who know more than you; learn from them. If you do that, you will advance, and the company will advance. “Leaders hire people that can take their place.”

Challenge Yourself. To be successful in construction, you must be a good problem solver. To be a great project manager, you must let your problems motivate you. As for Don, his favorite projects are those with the greatest challenges to solve. Remember, “easy” jobs probably lack purpose. Don’t take your problems for granted!

Do What It Takes. Although Don credits his hard-working nature to the generation he grew up in and being the oldest child in a large family, he said the true secret to hard work is a strong desire to succeed to the best of your ability. Don has managed/mentored many young construction professionals over the years that have not always had perfect results; usually, financial shortfalls cause the highest levels of stress in any project. His advice, if you work hard and care, you will be successful with this learning experience behind you.

These insightful messages only skim the surface of everything we could learn from Don’s expertise in project management, but his impact doesn’t stop there. Don is incredibly active in the community and a leader in making it better for others. Whether it’s his mentorship in the Engineering Society of Detroit or running almost 7 miles in the Detroit Marathon for the LifeLab Kids Foundation, Don strengthens C-L’s mission in all he accomplishes and plays a vital role in our unique history.