As executive vice president and general manager of commercial landscape services at The Davey Tree Expert Company, Dan Joy can easily relate to the struggles and concerns of his employees. Having been at Davey for almost 40 years, he has performed just about every job out there. He can easily tell his employees that he has “lived in their shoes,” which makes him more relatable to those he leads and, in essence, a better leader. Here, Joy talks about the importance of taking care of employees so they, in turn, take care of clients, as well as the value of honesty in leadership.

Q. How would you describe your style of leadership and why does this work for you?

A. I would describe my leadership style as being a people person. I win confidence in my people by gaining their respect. And I believe in managing people to their strengths and not trying to make someone something they’re not. I try to win people’s confidence by leading by example. Having been in the industry for 38 years and performed most every job out there, I’ve lived in their shoes. So I can relate to what their concerns are and what their struggles are, and I’m able to talk them through a lot of their issues.

Q. How do you work at consistently becoming better at leadership?

A. I’ve got a tremendous work drive. I’m constantly observing others in their roles, and I try to emulate what I believe to be good qualities of those around me and incorporate their strengths into my leadership style.

Q. Who are your leadership role models and why?

A. My leadership role model was my father, the late John “Jack” Joy, a former president of Davey. He had a successful career based largely on having a good work ethic and integrity.

Q. What have you done in a leadership capacity that you are most proud of and why?

A. What I’m most proud of is that I can look out through the Davey organization and see lots of people who I’ve mentored throughout my career who are now in leadership roles themselves. So I believe I’ve helped improve the qualities of life and careers of a fairly significant number of people.

Q. If you were to give young leaders one piece of advice, what would that be?

A. Be honest. It helps gain respect, and it’s easy to remember the honest answer. I think it keeps you focused in the right direction as well. When you’re honest with yourself you’re also acknowledging that maybe you’re not perfect and there are areas of improvement you can work on.

Q. In a leadership capacity, where do you see yourself in five years?

A. I see myself as being one of the key management personnel at Davey. I see myself as a senior operations manager for our president and chief operating officer to lean on for assistance.

Q. What leadership roles have you had in the industry and why are they important to you?

A. My entire career has been here with Davey. My leadership roles began when I became a district manager of our Columbus office in 1989. Since then, one piece of advice holds true, and that’s making your employees your No. 1 priority. I’ve always felt if you take good care of your employees, they’re going to take good care of your clients, with whom such consideration always resonates.