Who were your role models during the pivotal stages of your life?
I have received a lot of my professional experience from managers – both new and old – and through these learnings I have been able to develop and gain further experience through my own practices. I have learned to aim high and trust myself, as you only learn your limits once you have overstepped them.
What do you think makes a successful leader?
The most important thing is good teamwork – without your team, you are nothing. It is like a General standing alone on the battlefield without his soldiers. A leader should always invest in developing their knowledge and skills.
You need to know your own limitations and strengths, while continuing to develop and grow your own team.
To be a successful leader, one must learn something new every day, no matter the size of the team. You are not a leader without having a high level of emotional intelligence. A leader needs to effectively manage people in a way that encourages a healthy micro climate as this will lead to high team morale and a respectful environment.
Besides lifelong learning you should always show interest in your team members’ personal life – not too much but enough to know what kind of air they breathe outside of work walls: maybe a team member’s child is sick and they need to go home early; maybe a team member is happy but is exhausted after recently becoming a father to a newborn, which means his work is not as productive during these weeks. Being empathetic towards these situations will reward you in the long-term as these employees are more likely to return twice as much as you gave.
What are your greatest strengths?
Focus, determination and long-term endurance.
To perform optimally for a long-distance run you have to continue working and improving your mental and physical strength. This endurance is what drives a business and a career on the upward path. Winners work every day constantly and consistently; you must keep motivated long-term and not allow the times of weakness to prevail.
Life is not waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about dancing in the rain.
What are your greatest blind spots and how are you improving these?
I don’t trust easily, which could also be one of my strengths. However, in my experience you cannot trust everyone 100%. Realising the differences we have with people throughout our lives, I will continue to work on this blind spot.
What is the one thing in your opinion that people misconceive about your character?
Being from Lithuania our genetics do not allow us to have a broad American smile; therefore people often mistake me for being serious, despite what I may really be feeling. I look very calm and serious, even if I have a good day. I am training my muscles to keep smiling more [laughs].
What tips do you have for keeping a team motivated?
Taking into account Maslow’s hierarchy, people also need the balance of remuneration and emotional support from their organisation, which will help promote a healthy work-life balance.
Implementing flexible time schedules is important as it allows people to have more time with their families while working when their productivity is at its highest. Obviously this comes down to trust and the level of a person’s experience. As this style brings out the best in people, more organisations are adopting this approach.
What's the biggest risk you've taken?
I calculate everything by putting it on a scale, no matter how big the risk – my wife will agree. All risks should be managed and measured according to the variables. The same was said by a great American scientist, engineer, statistician and professor, William Edward Deming: “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.” Based on the result, you either go ahead or not – but you need to be aware, so in principle I like to take a manageable risk.
When you're considering partnering with another person or business, what factors are deal-breakers for you?
The lack of emotional intelligence and lack of respect. Regardless of the monetary benefits, if I see there is no respect from a prospective partner, I will not go further with them. With no emotional intelligence, it is extremely difficult to work with someone regardless of their age and experience – skills can be taught.
What's the best book you've read this year?
I read a lot of books to my daughter who is still in kindergarten [laughs]. I have three daughters, so it’s already a third round of reading for the kids. But today at 40 years old I read the same books; for example Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s ‘The Little Prince’. It brings a different, much deeper meaning compared to reading it at the child’s age.
For myself, I have found Time Machine by H.G.
Wells very interesting. This book operates on the premise that in the future society divides into two parts – rich versus poor. It’s interesting to read and understand the ideas and predictions of the author. It was written so long ago and he predicted very accurately if you look at what is happening in society today.
What are you most proud of in your professional career?
I am not proud that I have managed a team of 100 employees or projects worth millions, but rather that I raised new talents. And the best talents still keep following my professional activity, with all respect. Of course, for the teacher or mentor the best satisfaction is when your apprentice overtakes the teacher – the best success for all of them!
Which of your leadership skills were the most difficult to develop?
Delegation. Before starting your first managerial role, you are predominantly doing all the tasks yourself where you think only you can do them best. But when you start managing people, you realise it is impossible to do everything yourself, and you have to start delegating out to the team. With this comes trust and respect from both parties.
What's the most important leadership lesson you've learned and how has it proven invaluable?
No one is born a leader – even if you were lucky enough to have innate leadership characteristics, you still have to work hard to fully develop them.
After following a leader to eventually assuming a leadership role has its challenges as it is easy to step into a dictator role.
How do you achieve balance in your life?
Balance is not only about time, but rather about quality of time.
My family and I lead active lives, leaving us with little free time, which is why we make the most of the spare time we have together. Sometimes one sight is worth more than a thousand words.
What global trends do you see becoming intrinsic to the overall power network?
Today’s energy system silos will eventually become integrated into one holistic system. We have to think about the smart energy system as a whole system; switching from oil energy to renewable energy resources; from cars to electric vehicles; from cooling/heating to windmills that produce electricity used for the heating network. With global trends moving towards clean renewable resources – we can see this in technological advancements.
Romanas Savickas is a senior energy advisor at UNEP-DTU Partnership.