7 Qualities for a Great General Superintendent

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Good leadership is a mandatory prerequisite for every organization and industry, especially construction, where a lot is at stake. Therefore, every general superintendent should have several qualities to lead their team and get the job done right.

Often, the qualities of a general superintendent might not suffice for a project’s success, given the stressful and time-constrained nature of construction.

That’s where a project workflow management software can complement a superintendent’s capabilities by giving them real-time insights into a project.

Meanwhile, here’s an overview of the best qualities for a general superintendent. If you want to learn more about what abilities make a great general superintendent, you can check it out here.

What does a general superintendent do?

A general superintendent is responsible for a construction project’s day-to-day operations. They collaborate closely with project managers to develop a construction schedule and ensure that all work is completed on time, within budget, and up to code.

The superintendent oversees the project site, manages subcontractors, and resolves issues during construction. Given the high level of responsibility, a superintendent must be an excellent leader and communicator.

7 qualities of a good general superintendent

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A successful general superintendent has many qualities that enable them to lead their team to success. Here are some of the most important ones.

1. Strong communication skills

A general superintendent must have strong communication skills to communicate with their team and other stakeholders effectively. This includes being able to articulate tasks and expectations.

They should also be able to provide feedback. Research shows that 96% of employees want a more empathetic workplace communication approach. Not only does it improve retention rates, but it also builds a more trustworthy relationship between leaders and subordinates.

Since general superintendents are responsible for many moving parts, they must be able to give clear instructions and answer any questions that team members may have. Similarly, they should be able to listen to their team’s concerns and suggestions.

2. Leadership

Strong leadership allows a general superintendent to navigate through difficult challenges and guide the team to success.

Leaders inspire, motivate, and guide others towards a shared goal. Furthermore, they provide support and remove any obstacles that may be in the way.

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A successful leader is not afraid of making tough decisions. They know when to be assertive and when to back down. They also have a clear vision and can communicate it to their team.

3. Practice what they preach

The construction industry is a dangerous place. There are many hazards that can cause injury or death.

A good general superintendent practices what they preach when it comes to safety. They ensure their crews are adequately trained in safety procedures and follow all safety protocols.

They also conduct regular safety audits to ensure that their crews follow safe work practices.

A general superintendent must lead by example. They are not afraid to get their hands dirty and show their crews that they are willing to do the same work as them. It builds trust and respect between the superintendent and their team.

4. Research skills

Good superintendents are always prepared and know what they need to do to ace the project. Moreover, they are excellent researchers and always look for ways to improve their methods.

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Before they start working on a project, they do the following and more:

  • Go to the job site
  • Identify risks and hazards that may be present
  • Assess the needs of the project
  • Plan and develop a work schedule
  • Create a safety program
  • Get the permits required

Another outstanding quality of a reliable general superintendent is that they do not keep information to themselves. On the contrary, they are always willing to share their knowledge with others and help them improve.

Ideally, their crew would not be scared of them and know that they can approach their leader with any questions or concerns they may have.

5. Use technology

Data shows that the construction industry can save $0.95 trillion by 2025 by using digital technology in non-residential sector engineering and construction. Thus, a good superintendent should know how to use technology to increase the productivity and efficiency of their projects.

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Some ways that technology can be used in the construction industry include:

  • Workforce management: Since construction is a labor-intensive industry, it’s essential to have a system to track employee hours, productivity, and absenteeism. A digital solution can help improve visibility in the workforce, leading to better decision-making.
  • Asset management: It’s crucial to track equipment and other assets in construction projects to improve utilization rates and avoid costly downtime.
  • Project management: A construction project management software can help superintendents manage projects from start to finish, including budgeting, scheduling, and communications.

The use of technology can help construction superintendents save time and money while improving the quality of their projects. Since the start of the pandemic, improving operational efficiency has been the top priority of business.

The trend is expected to continue into the future, increasing the need for a construction superintendent to adopt innovative technologies that can drive effectiveness on and off-site.

6. Team empowerment

A general superintendent is responsible for empowering their team to achieve success. This means delegating tasks, setting expectations, and providing feedback.

It also involves creating a positive work environment where employees feel motivated to do their best.

7. Thick skin

Construction can be a brutal industry, and things will go wrong from time to time. A construction superintendent needs to have thick skin to deal with the challenges that come their way.

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They also need to be able to take responsibility for their team’s actions and learn from their mistakes. For instance, if a project is delayed, they should take responsibility and work to find a solution instead of placing blame.


On the whole, a good general superintendent must walk the walk, be organized, have good communication skills, be able to make decisions quickly, and have a thick skin. These qualities enable them to lead their team effectively and efficiently achieve success in construction projects.

Besides that, the superintendent must establish a good relationship with the project’s architect, engineers, and other construction professionals to ensure timely job completion.