Scott Jamieson might have a hard time convincing people he’s not a natural born leader.
The vice president of Bartlett Tree Experts leads Bartlett’s Midwest division and corporate partnership efforts. He also heads the Bartlett Inventory Solutions team in providing innovative and technologically advanced tree management plans.
On top of that, he’s the president of the National Association of Landscape Professionals, and is also active on the board of Chicago-based Openlands and is the former chairman of the board of the Tree Care Industry Association, as well as a former board member for the National Safety Council and the Alliance for Community Trees.
He received a Bachelor of Science in urban forestry from Purdue and a Master of Science in urban forestry from Michigan State University and a Master of Business Administration from DePaul University.
Jamieson shares his belief in a consensus leadership style and talks about the tools he uses to become a better leader.
How would you describe your style of leadership and why does this work for you?
I have always described my style as participatory, believing that the best ideas come from many minds working together. When those you are leading have a stake in the game, they will commit to the direction chosen. I always try to involve as many people as possible in making decisions. Leading from the “top down” has not been my style, but sometimes the quarterback has to call the play. At times, consensus leadership can be a slower process, but it’s all worth it in the end because the best decisions are made that way.
How do you work daily at consistently becoming better at leadership?
There are natural born leaders, and then there are those who must learn to be leaders. I am not a natural born leader. The way I get better is to lead from the heart and keep learning about how to be a better leader. At a week-long leadership program at Harvard, I learned that leadership is a lifelong process of learning from others. The biggest breakthrough I received was learning about why I do what I do and why others can do what they do. It’s an “inside-out” game for learning about what causes me to react and respond in various ways. The more I learn about myself, the more I learn about others.
What leadership books inspire you and why?
“It’s our Ship: The No Nonsense Guide to Leadership” by Captain D. Michael Abrashaff. It’s all about how this commander took over the lowest-ranking ship in the navy and turned it into a model of efficiency with amazing cost savings, highest gunnery score in the Pacific Fleet and a highly motivated and top performing crew. He believes in leadership from the bottom up.
What have you done as a leader that you are most proud of and why?
As a leader of my family, I feel positive every time I think about the accomplishments of my kids. I also feel proud of the success of other people on my team knowing I had a hand in it. Whenever someone tells me: “I appreciate what you did for me,” I’m humbled and gratified that perhaps I have made a positive impact.
If you were to give young leaders one piece of advice, what would that be?
Make your mission all about making those around you better. I tell my kids the path to success is to follow your passion. Even if it doesn’t lead you the biggest pot of gold, you want to enjoy your life because you have followed your calling. The money will follow.
What leadership words or quote inspires you most?
Leadership is an inside-out game.
Who are your leadership role models and why?
Robert Bartlett, Chairman and CEO of Bartlett Tree Experts epitomizes a great leader. He represents the third generation in a family-owned business. He is soft-spoken, humble, likeable and has a big heart. He doesn’t have to spike the ball in the end zone or boast about his success to be a true leader. The first thing he asks you when he sees you is how your family is doing. It’s rare for an owner of a company to be held in such high esteem so consistently by all the employees. Robert Bartlett is that type of owner.
In a leadership capacity, where do you see yourself in five years?
I have enjoyed my time at Bartlett, a great organization. I am taking over leadership of the Midwest operations, in addition to my other duties. I want to help grow the Midwest Bartlett team and lead it to the strongest safety culture in the company. Great things happen when you have a strong safety culture, including awesome teamwork and great profitability.