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June 7th, 2010
I am a solar hero. Well, almost. For the past month I’ve been running a crew installing solar in Roxbury. I’d say we’ve installed about 50kW in the past month, not bad on a pitched roof. This is some of our work to the right. The name solar hero started as a joke around the job site but mainly is used to talk about anyone who kicks a#$ and takes names while installing solar.
Over the past 3 months I’ve learned 3 things about leadership, its kinda like a 3 steps process to becoming a leader type stuff. By leader, I mean someone who others would willingly follow. I have to admit the working construction was the last place I thought I’d be learning about leadership but here goes.
Step 1: Gain Trust
The first thing I learned is that you need to gain people’s trust and respect. People don’t listen to the words coming out of your mouth, but they listen to if the source (ie you) is credible. Credibility is determined by trust. This is hard in the beginning because trust usually comes over time. These are not my words either, you can see The Leadership Challenge
Step 2: Provide a vision.
Once you have gained everyone (or most peoples trust) the next step is to provide a vision. Sometimes this can be a direct vision, “we are going to put solar panels on the roof today” or a lot of times I’ve found the best way to get a vision is through asking good questions “what do you guys think is the best path?”. This not only increases trust, but it involves others in the decision making process so they’re more likely to buy in to the last decision.
Step 3: Help Others
Here is the key part. Help everyone else as much as you can to do their jobs even better to reach the vision. When you help others, they will WANT to help you in return.
From my time in school and in past jobs, I’ve noticed a huge difference between formal power structures and informal ones. Most leadership comes down to informal structures. You may ask what is the difference? If you had a group of guys and asked them who they would want to follow, whoever they point to is most likely a leader type figure to them. Even though this might not be their direct boss. Why would they follow this person? Because they probably trust who they choose and he/she helps them to do their job the best. Sometimes people get this confused with formal power structures, where people will do things when they are told because their boss is telling them.
How can we use this to further Renewable Energy adoption?
What I’ve started to think about is how can I use these learning to further renewable energy integration, specifically on a political front.
Here’s what we need to remember, no one will listen to us if they don’t trust us first. It does not matter if every thing about global climate disruption is true, if we are not trusted then we won’t be listened to.
So, here’s the challenge, how do we make ‘non-renewable energy believers’ trust us? Simply stating what we believe to be facts over and over again will not do it.
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