Scott Cunningham works as a project manager in GES – Global Experience Specialists. He has been working with the company for over 14 years. At the start of his career at GES, he only had a high school certificate. After eight years of experience, he sat and passed his PMP exam. Later he went to college where he enrolled for a degree in Business Management and then a Masters in Management and Leadership.
At work, he is identified using the title Senior Director of Quality Systems. He always has a busy day, and he is continuously managing various projects for the company. On a typical day, he is usually involved in business systems analysis and development, lean six sigma deployment and training, asset management development and strategy deployment, and real estate analysis and strategic deployment. During the extended period that Scott has worked at GES, he has attained a lot of essential leadership skills which he shared with me during the interview that I held with him in the year.
The interview with Scott enabled me to learn that proper time management is essential for effective leadership. Scott noted that he is always committed to completing his tasks within the available deadline. To be effective in his time management, Scott always uses an online application call Basecamp on his scheduled projects. Similarly, he uses Todoist application for task management and fulfilments of commitments. He also keeps a journal where he records notes, especially when he is interviewing various stakeholders. Notably, these tactics of time management enable him and punctual in the completion of his duties
Another valuable lesson that I learned from Scott is the need for establishing contingency plans for all activities. Scott informed me that a leader should be responsible for the performance of his/her organization or team. In light of this, the leader should establish appropriate contingency plans to deal with these risks. Scott noted that he is constantly faced with many risks in his operations. He classifies these risks as anticipated, unanticipated, and opportunities. For anticipated risks, he usually develops ways of mitigating them. In unanticipated risks, he is obviously unable to predict their occurrence. However, he always cooperates with his team members to establish means of avoiding a re-occurrence or the spread of the risk.
Scotts notes that a leader must be a team builder for him/her to be effective in his/her operations. Specifically, he asserts that he always encourages his workers to open up and share their views by inquiring from them. This tactic is especially important in helping him to identify opportunity risks. With regards to opportunity risks, Scotts notes that these are eventualities brought by the failure of employees to inform their supervisors of various problems in the organization, which subsequently lead to inefficiencies or the collapse of the company’s systems. Besides inquiring from the workers, he also tries to make them better workers through corrective and preventive training, which makes them more effective. Importantly, it also enhances teamwork in the organization.
Another lesson that I learned from Scott is the importance of knowledge when making decisions. Scott noted that he was able to reduce the risks of making bad decisions to less than 20% by simply exploring all available relevant information before making a decision. In this regard, Scott notes that leader should be able to make appropriate decisions from an informed point of view.
I also learned that leaders should not impose their ideas on other members of the organization. The individual should understand that for all members of a group to fully participate in the implementation of their team’s tasks; their views should be considered. In light of this, Scott opines that instead of imposing his ideas, he creates a conducive working environment that enables his workers to develop and share various concepts of performing their work.
Scott also informed me that an effective leader should be able to motivate his/her workers by providing them with a conducive work environment. In particular, the leader should continuously train his/her employees and subsequently trust them to perform their duties. The giving of control to workers motivates them since it indicates that the leader has trust in them. Noteworthy, a leader should allow his/her employees to fail since failure if part of the learning process. Besides being able to motivate employees, Scott notes that a leader should always understand the objectives of his/her team. In particular, he asserts that the knowledge of the objectives enables a leader not to overlook any important aspect in his/her project. Additionally, it enables the person to know the tasks that he/she should be doing and those that he/she should avoid. In turn, this enables the leader to avoid wasting resources in unnecessary activities.
Overall, the interview with Scott was essential in enabling me have a real-life experience of the application of leadership skills. In particular, I was able to observe that to be an effective leader, a person must be able to enhance team-building with his/her followers. Additionally, the leader should be empathetic and able to create an environment where all his/her team members can share ideas and cooperate in the implementation of their common goals.