January 10, 2018

S4|E1: Steve Sinclair – Just like forests, leaders need to be productive, diverse, complex, and resilient

By Tom Davidson

Steve Sinclair is the State Forester of Vermont and Director of the Vermont Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation. During more than 40 years with the department, Steve has always taken on new assignments and challenges outside of his initial comfort zones and learned from them all. In this episode, Steve relates his department’s slogan, “healthy forests first,” to leadership, and he discusses how to lead a productive team, have fun on the job and find ways to adapt to new and challenging situations. With Steve’s extensive wisdom and optimism, this is not a show you want to miss!

Key Takeaways:

[:55] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:35] A quick intro about Steve’s background.

[3:05] How did Steve become interested in forestry?

[5:15] Steve discusses why his father has been a very inspirational mentor.

[7:50] As a forester, it’s so important to become a good listener and to have empathy for others.

[9:20] How is our profession doing when it comes to managing the public’s expectations?

[10:00] The definition of a healthy forest is: productive, diverse, complex, and resilient. A leader should also have these same qualities!

[12:00] Our profession still has a long way to go when it comes to diversity. Why has progress been slow?

[15:00] What kinds of challenges has Steve had when it comes to hiring and acquiring new talent?

[23:15] Steve has taken a wide variety of forestry positions since joining the field 43 years ago. What have been some of the interesting things he’s seen and done throughout his career so far?

[30:50] How does leadership change depending on the position you’re in?

[34:45] Balancing work and your private life is incredibly important in anything you do. When these two things match well, then productivity increases!

[36:05] Steve uses the StrengthsFinder tool to help his team maximize performance and enjoy their work.

[38:15] What is Steve most proud of in his career?

[42:20] What did Steve wish he’d learned sooner about his profession?

[45:20] What advice does Steve have for young foresters?

[51:00] Steve highly recommends the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

[53:45] Do you want to be right, or do you want to do the right thing?

Mentioned in This Episode:
Steve on Twitter
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
StrengthsFinder 2.0, by Tom Rath

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