Brett Lemcke, president-elect of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and vice president of R.M. Landscape, based in Hilton, New York, says listening to his team members and allowing them to develop their own plans helps his company grow and his employees feel like they are part of a successful group.
How would you describe your style of leadership and why does this work for you?
My leadership style is evolving almost daily it seems. I try to listen more than speak. I really enjoy when the team develops the plan or strategy versus me coming up with it on my own. I want everyone in our organization to feel as if they are part of helping our company grow so when the plan works we can all celebrate. I take a lot of satisfaction in seeing others grow.
How do you work at consistently becoming better at leadership?
I am surrounded by some really great people: My father (I work with him every day at our company), my fellow board members on NALP and my fellow peer group members. I learned a long time ago that you never stop learning, so I began to network with professionals in and out of the industry.
We also work with some great consultants. Frank Ross and Phill Sexton have been two really instrumental people in helping me and our organization improve systems and leadership roles.
Who are your leadership role models and why?
My father (who founded R.M. Landscape) has shown me how to develop relationships — client relationships, staff relationships, etc. — and has allowed me to come to work every day and be a part of a company that I love.
What leadership books inspire you and why?
“Good to Great” by Jim Collins. We need to continue to work hard to become great. “Traction” by Gino Wickman is also a strong book that not only discusses the strategy of business, but also how to implement that strategy.
What have you done in a leadership capacity that you are most proud of and why?
We at R.M. Landscape have grown since I came on in a management role. I am very proud that we are able to offer more career options for our employees and that we have strong client retention, which I believe means they are happy with our service.
I am also very proud of my time spent with the NALP. I joined committees in 2002, and since then the association has grown so much. I am proud to have been a part of that and excited for the opportunity to be president in 2016.
If you were to give young leaders one piece of advice, what would that be?
Get engaged. The voices of young people need to be heard more often. You will be the future leaders, so why not jump in now. Everything I have given to this industry I have received back tenfold.
In a leadership capacity, where do you see yourself in five years?
Leading R.M. Landscape through continued success, developing leaders in our organization. Staying engaged with NALP and continuing to learn and develop my leadership skills. I think there is more to learn, and I don’t want to stop learning.