Behind the job - Carl Lamb, Operations Manager

  • 23rd February 2021

What are the key skills required to do your job? 

As a construction operations manager for a leading UK contractor, I manage and review operational management processes, systems and best practices across new build developments. 

My role is extremely varied, and I’m involved in everything that goes on within a new development site. This includes anything from logistics and traffic management to health and safety, team matters and client management too.

Because of the nature of my role, strong communication skills and the ability to interact with a variety of people and effectively manage fast-changing situations are a must.

A good nose for developing operational methods that drive efficiencies, while keeping to a specific budget, is also vital. A relevant industry qualification is required too such as a degree or HND in project management or a similar subject area. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I absolutely love working closely with the entire team, helping people to achieve their potential through appropriate management and development practices.  

Honestly, when I see professional or personal growth in a team member, I realise how rewarding my job is. Watching them flourish and be the best that they can makes me a very happy manager indeed.

What does your job entail day-to-day?

A huge level of communication is involved whether that’s managing and directing the team, reviewing site drawings or looking at issues faced on-site such as defects or problems with contractors or materials supply. 

A typical day will see me liaise with architects and engineers about design modifications, work with the site managers about quality standards and communicate with homebuyers about their new home, providing updates, answering questions or ironing out any issues. 

What advice would you give to someone considering a career such as yours?

With any construction management course, I would strongly advise choosing one that offers a substantial focus on gaining practical, on-site experience. 

Yes, the theoretical knowledge of construction such as health and safety and key legislation is important but the on-the-job experience is vital. Only through this can you gain the work-ready skills you need to succeed in construction management, no matter what specific role you do.

What projects have you most enjoyed working on or are you most proud of? 

Two projects definitely stand out in my mind as I won awards for both of them! One was for a development in Skipton and another for a block of high-end residential apartments in Scarborough. For both developments, I won ‘Seal of Excellence’ in the NHBC Pride in the Job Awards. 

The awards celebrate managers in the construction sector who demonstrate exceptional commitment to high standards in house building. It’s like the Oscars in the construction industry and I really am so honoured to win it twice. 

How has the sector changed since you started out? 

I think the industry has changed massively. It’s a lot safer, more quality-driven and much more focused on the homebuyer, and provides a product, and service, that’s bespoke and specifically tailored to their needs. 

Greater legislation, more quality-driven standards, and a focus on being as efficient as possible has created a lot of positive change in the sector, demonstrating the innovation, talent and potential within it. 

You work with Coleman James. Why do you choose them as your recruitment partner of choice? 

I was introduced to Coleman James by chance. One day I received a call from Charlotte Smart, a Coleman James consultant. She was calling me about a reference for one of her candidates and a former colleague of mine, who’d been offered a new job as a Site Manager. I was actively looking for a new position myself so I asked Charlotte if she could help. 

The ball started rolling from there. I met Andrew and was really blown away with not just his level of professionalism but how much time he took in getting to know me, asking me what I was looking for in terms of my job role, what my aspirations were and what I wanted to achieve. 

Weeks later, I joined Tolent as an Operations Manager, and feel confident that it’s the right role for me. 

How did you find i3 profiling?

Following two interview stages with Tolent, I was invited to an i3 profiling session. I liked the idea of a personality profiling assessment, so I was eager to get involved and understand more about my skills, attributes and managerial style.  

The profile highlighted my natural instincts, skills and traits and revealed that, amongst other things, I have ‘highly enterprising’ tendencies. That means that I take a consultative approach to my work, I am extremely supportive of my colleagues and make measured, data-driven decisions, based on the value they add to my work and the business. 

My i3 profile also revealed that I am industrious, creative and efficient as well as being highly organised and good at delegating. I really appreciated the opportunity to explore more about myself as an employee and an individual. 

The new role at Tolent was created as part of a team restructure. When my profile was compared with other team members, who I would be working with closely, it revealed I had a number of complementary skills that fit well within the dynamics of the division. In a nutshell, it confirmed that I was the ideal candidate for the role. 

Now I work with a fantastic team. While we all have our own unique skills and qualities that we bring to the job, we work incredibly well together. Because we understand each other more through the profiling feedback, we know how to leverage each other’s skills to the very best of our abilities. That benefits us, the company and the projects we work on.