Season 1 | People You Should Know in Forestry and Natural Resources | Episode 9

#9 | Leaders, be prepared to disappoint some people

October 27, 2016 | Doug Decker

Doug Decker is the recently retired State Forester at the Oregon Department of Forestry and is now director of Portland State University’s Executive Seminar Program in Natural Resources. He is also a historian at alamedahistory.org and is widely hailed as a strong communicator and leader. Doug has been in the forestry community since 1987 and is now pursuing many new and on-going interests and challenges in the natural resources community and beyond. One of the aspects of leadership that Doug discusses in this episode is the fact that good leaders sometimes have to make tough decisions, and those decisions may let some people down. He believes it’s important for young foresters to be prepared for this aspect of their career.

Key Takeaways:

[2:30] Doug is two weeks away from retirement, yet he has three jobs waiting for him on the other side.

[2:55] How did Doug get started in his career?

[6:20] It’s important to be able to tell the story, and stay relevant to a public that’s not necessarily invested in the natural forestry industry.

[8:25] What do foresters do well in this industry, and what do they need to do more of?

[10:45] To become a good communicator, is it really just a question of learning the skill or is it the will to learn?

[13:50] What kind of skills should a leader know?

[16:20] You have to be willing to disappoint people. As a leader, you will be called upon during hard times, when tough decisions need to be made.

[17:10] One of the responsibilities of a leader is to be able to manage the throttle on change.

[17:45] Doug doesn’t like to let folks down, but sometimes it’s part of the job. In order to accept change, we have to be willing to give some things up.

[21:20] How has being a teacher of history helped Doug become a better leader?

[26:25] When Doug retires, what does he plan to do in Portland state?

[28:35] After 29 years in the industry, Doug is ready for another chapter of his life.

[29:20] What advice would Doug give to the young foresters out there?

[31:40] How does Doug define leadership?

[34:15] Doug recommends the book Leadership on the Line, by Martin Linsky.

[35:05] Are leaders born or made?

[37:05] Tom’s Leadership Tip of the Week!

Mentioned in This Episode:
Leadership on the Line, by Martin Linsky


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