By Renée Biery

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Add-on’s, renovations, and new construction homes can seem intimidating to take on. How do you even get started? How do you find and manage contractors? What surprises should you anticipate coming up? How long do these things take?

In this podcast, you will learn all that and so much more!

Embracing the Unknown: Thriving in New Construction Teams





So you’ve secured your next job, and you’re really excited to get started. But you also know you’re going to be working with an entirely new crew of construction workers. And that’s when you get a pit in your stomach as the anxiety builds. 

Let’s break down the why.

The first one may seem obvious. It’s the fear of the unknown. Humans don’t love change. We don’t want it. We push against it. Then, in circumstances of being put on a team when you don’t have the choice of pushing against it, it becomes even more anxiety producing because you don’t see an out other than just not taking the job. 

It’s natural to fear unknown things. When you’re put on a project with a whole new team, it takes being the only girl on a job site and amplifies it. 

The other fear I hear about is that all of your skills and knowledge will just evaporate because your fear will be driving your interactions in the very beginning. 

Of course, we cannot assume logically that that will happen, but it may feel like walking into a room naked. You will be the odd man out (pun intended) more often than not.

So, how do you handle these situations better?

You will be in these situations at some point, hopefully, at many points in your career. I get you might not want to fear the unknown, to feel like you have lost all your skills and knowledge, and not being accepted. I get it. It’s a logical thing to say. But keep in mind, if you become part of new teams and crews of new contractors, that means you are getting more projects, and likely bigger projects, because you are not building the teams yourself. 

So the very first thing you need to do, long before you meet any of the guys, is to remind yourself of the badass skills, value, and abilities that you have. 

That may sound silly, but a quick pep talk at your office, whether that needs to be daily or on your way out the door to go to the site meeting, whatever it takes to remind yourself that, first of all, you are there for a reason. You were hired for your skills. You were hired for your talents and abilities, and the only thing that’s changed is that the guys you’re about to meet just don’t know that yet.

The second thing I do that is sort of a mental boost for myself is I am prepared. 

There have been times I have been overprepared simply because it made me feel more confident in my abilities. 

What does that look like? Well, you are always going to go to meetings prepared. You’re going to bring anything to that meeting that is relevant to the project right then and there. If it’s at the very beginning of the project, you’re going to want to come with whatever it is you created for the scope of work, or you developed conceptual drawings at that point, you’re going to bring everything. Scraps of fabric if that’s what inspired you. Pinterest photos your client sent you. Anything that will make you feel prepared to start this project. 

Overly prepared

To be overly prepared, you’re going to bring things that you think will be happening down the road. That could mean additional specifications and your thoughts on surprises you think may come up. Anything that will make you feel so prepared for any questions or concerns is a goal that’s easy to accomplish and can really make a big difference in how you present yourself to this new team. 

A Team

If you’ve been listening to this podcast, I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about my A Team. My A Team is headed by my contractor Todd. I don’t think I’ve ever shared how I met Tod, though. I think that’s an important component to share in today’s episode. 

When I first met Todd, I had those butterflies in my stomach, or the pit in my stomach, or whatever anxious feeling you get when you realize you truly will be the only girl on that job site. 

In this story, I share how important it is to not miss the opportunities to engage with incredibly talented people that you can bring into your fold and put on your A-Team. But first, you must get over the anxiety of being a part of these new teams. 

There is always someone on a job site that’s happy to see you.

It may not be the person in charge or the first five guys you come across. But I guarantee you, there is someone happy to see you on the job. So if you’re on these new projects and you don’t know any of the guys, look for that one person who greets you when you come in. Stop and invest some time into him to make you feel more like a part of the group and to get your foot a little more inside the boys’ club. There is always someone there, and it’s not always who you think it will be. 

My experience also tells me that you do find a rhythm with every project with every team. It doesn’t mean with every person

I would also encourage you to look at working with a new team as an opportunity to sharpen your skills, clean up sloppy processes, and circle back to clear and constant communication. Take it as an opportunity to meet new trades and learn new skills because everyone does have their own spin on their specific trade, and realize that new crews are an opportunity that should be looked upon with anticipation and not dread.

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