Hi, I hope you are doing great. I’m excited to share with you an interview I recently conducted with one of the followers of Tactical Project Manager. His name is Jimmie Hines, he is an army veteran with a lot of leadership experience who now works in the defense industry.
We talked about leadership and the traits and habits of great leaders. Also, we talk about how you can earn the respect as a leader. It has been a very interesting discussion and Jimmie shares many great tips about how you can improve your leadership style and become the kind of leader that everybody wants to work for.
This is a short summary of our conversation. I highly recommend you watch the full video:
Meet Jimmie Hines – Army Veteran, Father and Leader
Jimmie is a very interesting person with an exciting story who has already achieved a lot in his life. He started on a culinary path where he served as a chef in the army. One of his first overseas deployments was Bosnia in the 1990s. Later in his career, Jimmie transitioned into a supply and logistics role where he got to coordinate challenging missions to various locations around the world – including a mission to Djibouti at the horn of Africa during Operation Enduring Freedom. This was also an achievements. Jimmie is most proud of because the mission included the move of a large number of supplies, equipment and personnel to Africa and bringing everything and everybody home safely. Jimmie’s work regularly involved a lot of project management – planning, executing, monitoring and closing — and therefore Jimmie later on decided to get his PMP. A few years ago, Jimmie retired from the army after 26 years of service. He now lives in Florida together with his wife and their three sons. His family also runs a non-profit called Experience Autism Alliance, which assists families who have loved ones with autism. In his current role, Jimmie works as a Program Planner in the defense industry.
Why you have to earn your leadership status
What makes a great leader? This is a question Jimmie has been wondering about all through his life. He was always fortunate to have great supervisors. Jimmie aspired to become at least close to their level of what he thought was just great leadership. What were elements of great leadership that Jimmie observed in his own leaders?
First of all, Jimmie’s leaders always kept their word. They said what they did, and they did what they had promised to do. And any commitments his leaders made, they made sure to honor them. That kind of honesty and integrity was also visible in the way Jimmie’s leaders dealt with their own mistakes. They would shy away from admitting to their team if they had made a mistake.
“One of the principles I have always followed to earn respect as a leader was: When you make commitments or promises, you honor those. The same goes for your mistakes. You need to honor your mistakes to win the trust of your team”
That kind of honest way of dealing with own mistakes was not practiced by all the leaders in Jimmie’s organization. Some leaders would either downplay an issue they had made, or they would try to put the blame on somebody else. These leaders did not win the same level of respect within the organization as the other leaders who showed a high level of integrity.
How Jimmie’s leadership style has evolved
Another question I asked Jimmie was how his leadership style has changed over time. Jimmie early on reached the rank of a Sergeant which involved leadership responsibility. His initial style was more hands on, working side by side with his team members “down in the trenches” and helping to get things done. This meant Jimmie would give very specific orders for how a task should be done.
After a few years, as Jimmie’s team grew, he had several managers working for him who coordinated the other team members. This is when he switched more into a planning role, being less involved in the actual work. Jimmie learned how to present a problem to his staff so that his team members could figure out a solution on their own. Empowering his team members be letting them work independently on a problem not only freed up time on Jimmie’s calendar. It also unlocked the creative power of the team: “They [the team members] come up with answers you have never thought of.” Jimmie says. Lastly, the team’s motivation also remained high because the team members fully owned their project.
Overcoming the fear of giving away work
For anybody new in a team or project manager role, learn to delegate work can be quite challenging. It feels easier to just do the work yourself, and you think you may be faster than when asking your team member to do it. What did Jimmie have to say about this?
First of all, Jimmie emphasizes that we need to be more strategic in a leader role. Developing the strategy for the team and looking ahead is what we have been hired for – not to do the actual expert work ourselves. Jimmie also reminds us of the fact that the team is much more creative when being given more responsibility. As a leader, we should therefore focus on providing the general direction and purpose for the team so that everybody knows what the desired outcome is. Team members can then focus on the process of figuring out the details on how to approach a problem. Lastly, we as leaders should be able to create a climate where people are comfortable to making mistakes.
There’s a lot more we talked about, and Jimmie shares so many great tips and insights which will help you become more comfortable and effective in your role as a team or project leader. Therefore, I highly recommend you watch the entire video! Your team deserves to have an excellent leader. 🙂