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72 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 Matties: Are these students coming to the course based on requests from their leader- ship, or do they decide to take this course and bring it back to their company? Mucha: All the above. I've had students come because they lost a job, and they pay for the course on their own because they feel being a certified program manager will give them more ability to get a job. There are some whose bosses told them to go. And then there are others who want to go just because they feel it will improve their skillset. I had one student in the last class who worked for a cli- ent company, and I recommended that she consider it, but it was her choice. She was over the moon that she was approved to go. Because she'd recently come into that indus- try, I felt that it would be the next step in her skillset. Matties: How would you summarize what a great leader is? Plaza: Number one is the ability to listen as accurately as possible to what's happening, which could be anything—from the factory, equipment, and computer systems, to the way people are interacting with those systems and with each other. It goes back to the list I gave earlier, which would include emotional intelli- gence, people management, and critical think- ing. These are aptitudes that you have to cul- tivate. One of the mistakes that we often make in business is assuming people either have these things, or they don't—the "born leader" exam- ple. I'm not sure that it really exists. Some- times, you have people with the right aptitudes for a particular problem, and in the old days, those problems were pretty static and repeti- tious because technology and systems moved so slowly. But today, because they move so quickly, you need to have someone who's able to apply those aptitudes—be creative, have complex problem-solving skills, and emotional intelligence—constantly to different situations. That all starts with listening and being able to accurately take in the world around you with- out letting your ego get in the way. Checking your ego is one of the top things a leader needs as well. Matties: Susan, what do you think makes a great leader? Mucha: Talking about what makes a great leader is a big class discussion. We probably spend 15–20 minutes on it, and in a two-hour session, that's a fairly big chunk. But the key points are, like Carlos said, that they listen and carefully assess what's happening. They are collaborative rather than dictatorial. They understand negotiation skills. They're orga- nized. We end up with a list of probably nine or 10 things. The bottom line is there's not one thing that makes a great leader, but a combi- nation of really being able to know when it's time to lead and manage and being able to inspire a team rather than have to order them to do it. Johnson: Do you have any specific plans to expand how leadership skills are delivered to the industry through IPC? Plaza: We are in the process of looking into a wider program that addresses soft skills—one of which is leadership for people in entry-level positions. It's on our radar. Johnson: Thank you both for participating in this conversation. Plaza: Thank you. Mucha: Thanks a lot. SMT007 Talking about what makes a great leader is a big class discussion.

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