What makes a Good Leader?

This is a question that is central to our Company as everyone is always encouraged to develop and improve our leadership skills.  This question became more relevant at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when our Office required Staff to demonstrate effective leadership to be able to commence and progress on a significant project for the Company – and for Fiji as a whole.

In April 2020, Erasito was engaged to carry out site investigation work for the Suva-Nausori Arterial Road Upgrade Project (SARUP2).  The project required our Staff members to work on a full time basis on the roads around Suva and Nausori.  We were required to map out the storm water infrastructure, sewer lines and utility (EFL, TFL, WAF) features on 17  arterial roads, with most of the roads within the greater city area.

The project would have been a straightforward job had it not been for the threat of infection from coronavirus which was already spreading globally during this time.  Collectively as a team, we had to decide how to conduct our work in a safe and effective manner.  Safe from the hazards that usually go with our line of work and safe from the dangers brought by the virus.

Despite the lack of factual information about the coronavirus and the abundance of unverified information that was available to the public at the start of the pandemic, our Staff members were keen to report to work and out onto the roads with the general public which had a high chance of being exposed to the virus.  There was a visible willingness of the Staff to carry out the job.  But initially, the difficulty of conducting the tasks was compounded by the challenging task of coordinating our activities with the various stakeholders, and by the urgency of the project as expressed by the Client and Project Manager.

During this challenging time, different kind of leaders emerged from our Company.  Given the opportunity, the Staff members were willing to contribute in their own way and capacity.  Some Staff members devised a new Office protocol to ensure that the virus will not spread within the Office confines.  Other Staff members developed occupational health and safety procedures for the works to be conducted on site which covered COVID-19 issues.  Another group of colleagues volunteered to collect and organise cleaning of the inspection tools and clothes.

Eventually, everything fell into its proper place and the project started and progressed well.  Effective leadership was demonstrated by everyone involved.  Everyone helped each other succeed and our collective efforts were rewarded.  Each Team Leader and each Team member fostered trust and camaraderie which enabled their colleagues to maximise their potential.

It was a privilege to work on this project due to its significance to the Company and to the country.  It was a privilege because we were able to influence each other to create an environment that helped us showcase our capabilities, to share responsibilities and become effective leaders.

Author: Alfred Macmac

June 2020

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