The ECITB has announced plans to incorporate new behavioural elements such as emotional intelligence in its leadership training.

Feedback from industry has highlighted leadership skills development as a priority for many engineering construction employers, in particular the higher-level behaviours that leaders require in today’s world of complex projects.

Chris Claydon - ECITB Chief Executive

ECITB CEO Chris Claydon

In response, the ECITB is reviewing the skills development needs in the area of leadership at all levels with a view to strengthening and extending provision for our employers.

Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of the ECITB, said: “Increasingly, leadership roles in the engineering construction industry, like many other dynamic areas of the UK economy, require well-developed soft skills.

“We know successful leaders possess self-awareness and awareness and empathy for others that helps them get the best out of themselves and those around them, which research shows can help improve project delivery and productivity. We hope through extending our leadership provision ECITB can help develop the high order soft skills that today’s senior leaders need to thrive.”

The ECITB hosted a two-day pilot in Manchester where cross-industry participants from companies including Sellafield, Altrad, BP and Wood looked at how emotional intelligence training can help leaders to make better decisions and improve team performance and productivity.

Matt Oates, Head of Workforce Development for Altrad, said: “I am encouraged by the ambition ECITB is showing in its work on leadership development. People are fundamental to delivering projects in engineering construction. The behaviours of leaders in the industry, at every level, have the potential to increase the performance on our projects and industry is recognising that the development of behavioural maturity is just as important as developing sound management and technical skills.”

Steven Thomson, Engineering Services Manager, with Repsol Sinopec UK, said: “Technology is developing at pace, leading to the opening of new possibilities, but only by understanding the emotional triggers of ourselves and others will we truly take business to the next level.

“By helping people in industry be happy in their home and work lives, through gaining a better understanding of their emotions and others, we can unlock benefits such as increased productivity.”

Simon Dick, Director Talent & Training, Wood plc, said: “The ECITB’s plans to support growth of leadership capability in engineering construction are welcomed. The industry already knows that leadership behaviours are key to unlocking team performance by better understanding what drives individuals to want to contribute to team goals. Recognising the importance of qualities such as emotional intelligence in our leaders, current and future, is vital.”

The ECITB’s pilot programme in Emotional Intelligence was delivered by Leonidas PD, in August 2019 for leaders from organisations including the ECITB, in-scope employers and ECI operators. Evaluation of the pilot with industry feedback will form a key part of developing and delivering enhanced leadership training support as part of the ECITB’s 2020-2022 strategy ‘Leading Industry Learning’.