7 Ways to lead at any level

At the annual Women in Design + Construction conference hosted by Building Design + Construction in October, Emily Brown took the stage to share how we can demonstrate influence and lead at any level in our careers. Emily Brown is McCownGordon’s Vice President of Talent Development and has made it a goal to help associates learn and grow with relevant, timely development opportunities.

Emily’s presentation was centered on ways to demonstrate influence and build leadership skills at any level in your career, whether you are entry-level, middle management or a member of the C-Suite. We’ve summarized her seven tips for you!


1.    Hold yourself accountable

To influence and lead, you must build trust within your team. Holding yourself accountable is a foundational way to build trust with others. You need to lead by example, especially on basic things like being on time, following procedures, and meeting your deadlines. Leading by example, especially on these small things, is a foundation of leading without authority.

2.    Be humble

Approach tasks with a sense of curiosity and try to learn as much as you can. Some work may seem menial or outside our roles but recognizing that effort towards a project can positively impact the entire team. Plus, teams appreciate a leader who will roll up their sleeves and help with tasks when needed!

3.    Ask for help when you need it

No one can read your mind. If you need help, speak up and be as specific as possible about what you need.

4.    Practice self-awareness

When was the last time you checked in with yourself, assessed your needs, studied your communication style, etc.? Knowing your style of communication or leadership helps you better interact with colleagues and influence others.

5.    Have tough conversations

Tough conversations are…tough. So have them when they are needed, approach them with care, and always hold the utmost integrity during these conversations. Doing the right thing is sometimes the hardest thing, but it prevents even more difficult times in the long run.

6.    Build your network

Having a strong network will help ensure that you have an advocate in any room that you aren’t in. You can start by asking a more seasoned colleague to share their experience with you, or to be a formal mentor. Look for the leaders who you admire and invite for coffee, lunch, or an informal meeting. Make sure that you prepare some questions in advance like “What best served you as you began your career?” or “How did ensure your growth professionally in the company?” Listen to them, apply what you learned from them, and stay connected with them.

7.    Be willing and eager to grow

There are three tips for this:

  • Find a mentor
  • Continue learning and share what you’ve learned with others
  • Ask thoughtful questions


Demonstrating influence can be challenging, especially without formal authority. While there is no defined route for every person, these tips can help you develop your leadership and influence skills.

Learn more about opportunities to work with thought leaders at McCownGordon and our benefits, including top-notch talent development, by going to  https://mccowngordon.com/construction-jobs/