Aspioneer (A): Were you a born leader or did you have to learn to become one?
Nick (N): “Since a young age I have always wanted to take the lead, being willing to do whatever it takes to make the mission/project a success. I thought this meant I was a leader. It was not until I joined the US Navy that I got to witness real leadership, inspiring others to help you complete a mission or objective. When I began to lead teams in the Construction Industry, I still had a lot to learn about managing different personalities, trusting people to meet the objective even if it is completed in a way that differs from how I would have done it. And realizing the potential of people to grow and succeed if you let them take those responsibilities and understand that failure is how we learn and grow.”
(A): Who inspired you while growing up?
(N): My Mother was a big inspiration for me, although I did not realize it till many years later. She was such a hard worker, and never gave up. She was strict, yet compassionate and taught us the value of hard work and treating everyone with respect. I also looked up to Michael Jordan, although I did not play basketball, I admired his guts and desire to win at all costs.”
(A) Whom do you admire now?
(N): “The President of Joeris, Kenny Fuller, and the Director of Field Operations Lindy Mechler, they have both been incredible father figures and professional mentors.”
(A): How do you define success? What’s your favourite metaphor for describing leadership?
(N): “Making the impact on our future leaders that my mentors have made on me. The garden metaphor for an organization, the leader’s role is that of a gardener who takes care of the garden and nurtures the growth of the plants such that lasting fruit is produced. The gardener’s focus on the healthy growth of each plant in the garden resembles the servant leader’s focus on the healthy growth of each individual in the organization.”
(A): How do you handle uncertainty? How do you motivate yourself through challenges?
(N): “Planning, researching, but most importantly communicating with peers. I want to prove to others and myself that I am the best at what I do, so I tend to attack problems aggressively and not give in to thoughts of failing.”
(A): What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear in general?
(N): “Not living up to my expectations. I visualize the worst outcome possible in a scenario, try to identify all the actions that could lead to that outcome, and be prepared to combat those.”
(A): What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?
(N): “Going to college after the military. I was not a great student in high school, studies were not my priority. I was planning to go back to home building and a friend convinced me to give it a shot, I was scared but figured I needed to try, and it was a great experience that set me up for my current role.”
(A): What popular leadership advice do you agree/disagree with? Why?
(N): “Listening is everything, listen to what your customer is telling you they want, and then delivering in an honest, transparent manner. I don’t agree with trying to manipulate people or situations for success, I do not believe this is sustainable.”
(A): What’s the advice you’re glad you ignored?
(N): “To make career moves based on money, any decision based solely on money is probably misguided.”
(A): Share an instance when you failed and the lesson you learned from it?
(N): “My first opportunity to lead a large project team, I failed to recognize that my Project Manager was struggling, I tried to help him, assuming he operated the same way as I did and failed miserably, the PM ended up quitting and I felt personally responsible. That was a huge lesson for me in leadership, each employee is unique and has different needs and thresholds for stress.”
(A): To anyone looking to start a new business or transition into a new leadership role, what advice would you give them?
(N): “Communicate, people want to help others succeed. Listen more than you speak. And never be afraid to admit what you don’t know.”