Compliments Help the Team Dig In

Austin, Foreman for a civil contractor in Battle Ground, WA, told Session 6B of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):


“Two weeks ago while my crew was digging a ditch from the plant blower building on our job at the Forest Grove Clean Water facility, I overheard our excavator operator complimenting one of our laborers down in the ditch. He was telling him how well he had shoveled that day. We had been going over, under and around many existing utilities that lay in our path, this requires a lot more hand labor than is normally needed. When I heard the compliment coming from the equipment operator, the light bulb turned on in my brain. Our equipment operator was doing exactly what Larry has been teaching us to do. So, I went over and gave the operator an ‘atta boy!’ on always doing a good job with his careful, safe practices and fast production. I thanked him for not disturbing any of the existing utilities even when they are unknown and unaccounted for. Now, the labor was happy, the operator was happy and I was happy. As Larry has taught us, I do feel better when I give an ‘atta boy’ compliment – compliment a good job well done. We all felt like we had accomplished our jobs.

“The lesson I learned from this experience is when I compliment my guys on a job well done, I have a happy, energized crew. Morale improves and good morale always results in improved results.


“The action I call you to take is don’t just see the bad – what must be changed or what must be improved, what must be done better. Look for the good things your crew is doing and compliment your crew on all the things they are doing right.

“The benefit you will gain is your crew will be happy, you will be happy and as a team, your jobs will exceed customer requirements and you will beat the bid.”

This simple story is told so well that it is easy to see the construction site picture – the same picture that Austin had in mind as he told us his story. Austin’s story reminds us with its graphic picture detail of the profound difference encouragement, a compliment can make to each person on the team and to the team as a whole. In fact compliments can go a long way toward building a team. Of all the things that you need to exceed your former bests and beat the competition, satisfy your customers, the most important competitive advantage is teamwork.


Announcing the Salem & Portland area Leadership Development Lab!

Effective communication and exceptional teamwork is how you beat the bid. For over 30 years, Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL) has helped thousands of owners, project managers, estimators, superintendents and key staff improve their communication, team building and leadership skills to beat the bid.

We are scheduling the Salem area Leadership Development Lab to start in early April and the Portland area will start at the end of April. Space is limited, so call 503-691-2867 or reply to this email and reserve a spot for you and your team today!