Eric Dibble is an upcoming college graduate and an aspiring young engineer. Originally from Oxford, Michigan Eric spent 4 years at Miami University graduating with a degree in Bioengineering. During his time at Miami University Eric was a member of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute (Cohort 3) and says this experience was one that shaped his time at Miami. Eric plans to work as a process engineer upon graduation in December 2016. Eric is driven by his passion for engineering, sports, and family. Eric hopes one day to start his own company and have the ability to coach youth hockey.
Eric Dibble, alumni of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute, talks about his experience with the institute and how transformational leadership has affected him and his career.
Dan: Steve and Dan here for the Listen4Insight podcasts we're joined today by Eric Dibble
Dan: Uh and today we are going to be asking Eric a few questions about transformational leadership. Uh so Eric you have been a member of the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute, do you want to tell us a little bit about that?
Eric: Yes so I am part of cohort 3, I'm a graduate of the Lockheed Martin leadership institute - I graduated in the spring of 2016. And uh now I'm back as a teaching assistant during my last semester here at Miami University, so I’m very pleased uh to be a part of leadership institute and then to kind of help out and do a listen for insight interview.
Steve: Alright so we're gonna direct a lot of these talking points towards things that you've learned in the Leadership institute and mainly dealing with transformational leadership. So Eric...how can a leader take into account the different learning, communication, and work styles of different team members?
Eric: So I think a big part of transformational leadership is the ability to recognize the different strengths and weaknesses of people on the team that you have. Whether it's a big project or a small project, people work differently they learn differently they communicate differently. Um and that can lead to being very effective or very ineffective depending on if you set the people that you're leading up for failure or if you set them up for success. So for example, if you have someone who's very introverted, um you probably wouldn't want to give them the the job to be the keynote speaker at your upcoming conference (Dan and Steve Laugh, Dan laughingly says “yeah”). Or if you have someone that is very extroverted, you wouldn't use them to your full potential if you had them uh doing something with maybe doing you know pushing papers or behind the scenes you might, you might get more of them in a different role so I think as a transformational leader it is up to you to recognize, um, who you have in the team what their strengths and weaknesses are and and give them the keys so that they can succeed the most and make whatever you're doing um to its fullest potential.
Dan: What are a few ways that you would recommend uh finding those people strengths their weaknesses
Eric: I think it comes a lot from observation so whether it's a team building activity at the beginning before you do anything else, whether it's talking one on one with these people about into what they're interested in what they're not interested in. Uh there's a lot different ways to really figure out people. It can be more formal can be very informal just depends on how you want to go about doing it. So, there's different opportunities to get to know people in a professional setting whether it's school whether it's work you could you know obviously meetings are great but sometimes meetings are a little you know, people lose focus easily so maybe use a little more fun a little bit different that gets people out gets people interacting with each other and interacting with you and that we can come to see what they are more apt to do and where they best fit on team.
Stephen: What do you wish that you knew earlier in your leadership development and how have you grown from when you started?
Eric: So one of the big things for me, coming in the leadership institute was I didn’t really have a ton of experience, which a lot of people, you know in your sophomore year of college, don't have. In the experience that I'd had,um, with leadership and with things like that was, was very successful. You know whether you were on your high school sports team or you run some program in your high school, they're all,um, they’re setting you up so you can't fail. Right, they’re always there helping you out, you, you’re kind of more of a figurehead than doing any actual leadership. So one of the big things for me coming in was, um, to understand how to fail correctly. Um. Failure to me was a very bad thing, a very negative thing. Through the leadership institute and through doing different things in the leadership institute and as well as like in internships and that sort of thing, I learned that failure can be a good thing and that you need to take the fail as it, failures that you have and learn from them to move forward. So, the first time, you know I, we ever did something in Leadership Institute, and I, you know my team was not successful, or we didn’t get the outcome we wanted to, I took that as, as a loss for me. When in reality, it probably wasn't as much of a loss, um, as, as I looked at it. So, you need to kind of step back when you do things that you aren’t as successful at and say okay, you know how can I learn from these mistakes, how should I do it differently next time. Um, you know whether you're in a leadership position or you're in a team member position, if something fails you'd always take that, um, and you know kind of turn it 180 degrees and look at it and see what went wrong and why it went wrong. And so like I said a big thing for me was just kinda learning to understand my failures and how to take those and move forward instead of just kind of taking it personally um and getting down on myself.
Dan: Yeah that's a really the point um I know we talked it's it's great all I talk about the great you got to get back up, brush yourself off get back out there um do you maybe have like a specific example of like when that happened or…?
Eric: Yeah so one of the first, the big failures that I’d say I had was um in an internship after my sophomore year so we've gone through one full year of the leadership institute and I had a you know we read all the books you've gone through a lot of training so I had I had a pretty good feeling of who I was as a leader. But the project we worked on were really you know small they're building in the junior year where you really start to get into these big projects. I was working at Chrysler and uh one of my tasks was to make sure um it was kind of a logistics task and I one day just kind of slipped up and let my mind slip a little bit and I ended up failing at this logistical task in the parts weren't where they need to be when they need to be there and I got chewed out for it and at first I was kind of upset about it and I was like you know “oh woe is me it wasn't really my fault.” But then I got to thinking and after that and kind of reflected that night the next day into what we learned all in the leadership institute. And I and I used that failure of letting that one day not go correctly to make sure and refocus myself to make sure that the rest my time at that internship I never let that same problem happen again. And I think that by looking back at what I did in the mistakes I made, I was able to learn from it kind of change the way I did things and made my process of uh doing my work much more efficient and made it so that I had some checks and balances so even if I may have missed one thing that the parts um were where they needed to be every day for the remainder of my stay there and I think it worked very well since I didn't miss another day so that's all positive in my eyes
Dan: That's awesome you can see how your uh leadership institute training has developed even it impacted your professional life as well uh so that's way cool to see.
Steve: What do you think is the most impactful thing that you've been a part of in the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute?
Eric: The most impactful thing for me has been, probably um, I, I’ll say is two different things so the first thing. I think is is the exposure, to people in the industry who are successful leaders. You get to see different types of people, um, all successful though. And I think it's interesting to see all the different leaders who are successful in their different ventures. so whether you have, you know, Charlie Haddad from Eli Lilly, or Marty Lakes, umm or everyone from the Lockheed, um, Lockheed Martin they're all they're all leaders in their own way and they all lead different,they all have different characteristics so kinda seeing all these different people do their jobs. Kinda matches up or reading, what we're working on that everyone can be a leader in their own sense and these people have all developed their personal leadership styles, um, and so it’s interesting to see you know, people always ask questions you know how to become a leader, you know, any tips for how to be the best leader and they all gave different tips. And so seeing that has been extremely interesting. And then the next big thing for me would be the experience that you get. So whether it's your sophomore year, you know those first teams you're in. You know working on small projects and you kinda think they are super important then you go into junior year and you see that you know the small projects turn into huge projects and how important it is to, to be a leader. And you know people ask, how can you say you’re you know being leader when you're just on a part of the team. But I think that no matter what team you're on whether it's, that first team sophomore year, a big project in junior year or you're in your professional life you know your first year out, you're probably not going to be a leader. Alright your first year not gonna get a title as as project manager or you're not going to have people underneath you, but I think that you always have yourself to lead and if you think like a leader, you can understand where your bosses or managers are coming from and you can be a better employee if you have the mindset of you know what you would want to do in a situation if you were a leader, what you'd expect from your employees I think that using that mindset and having that experience that you get in the Lockheed Martin Leadership institute is really great going into the first few years of professional life, um, even though you may I get to use it to its full potential until maybe 5-10 years down the road and you do have people underneath you, and when you are managing big projects and that's when those skills are really going to come out and flourish.
Dan: And the fact that we're getting that training now, before even in the professional workforce and we can just continue to build off that and get that.
Eric: Exactly, I think that as you go through if you have different internships and as you develop as a person you'll see that these, these teams you're in, and whether it's in the leadership institute or whether you're working on a senior design project. Whether you’re working on a big project for your internship. I mean you're gonna see that these leadership skills that we talk about, you know do come to fruition so you may think of one of its maybe not super important in the books you read. Maybe just kinda brush some of it off and say it's not super important, but I think as you, as you move on and go forward you see that these skills really are necessary and they really are used by a lot of people who are successful in the workforce.
Steve: So through any of your projects in the lockheed martin leadership institute, When you lead a team how did you motivate them to go towards that common goal?
Eric: So that's an extremely difficult thing to do. I think whether you're in a project in the leadership institute, whether you're on a project in any other class, whether in the real world, motivating people is extremely difficult. I think the best way to do that and the best way that transformational leaders do this is make people feel like they have a skin in the game. The more intrinsically motivated these people are do work to be creative the better they're gonna be as employees or better team members. So I think that when we, when I lead engineers week we tried to give different people as much control of their different part of the project as they could. So whether it's um the conference or whether it was the student showcase or whether it was the day long event, we try to give people as much leeway as they could without you know diverting from our main goal. You always have to keep that main goal and focus right so whether whatever that goal is you need to all your effort needs to go towards that main goal. But you need to give people wiggle room if you give someone a task and you give them the steps on how to do the task and everything's already laid out, it's just following it’s just following directions and and most people can do that. So I think the more that you're able to let people use those creative juices that they got going whether it's you know they have an aptitude for arts or um you know whether they're interested in something else if they can use those different interests in creativity and bring them all together you're gonna get a lot better work out of people. And because they're gonna be more motivated to work for that final goal. So kind of to bring it back around I think that being a transformational leader is allowing people to work to their fullest potential by not constricting them creatively.
Dan: And at the same time do you feel like you're gonna get a better product at the end too?
Eric: Oh of course I mean like I said if you give someone directions and tell them “this is what I want to do it this is how you’re going to do it and here are the 8 steps you need to take it's gonna come exactly like that. Um if that's what you're looking for that's fantastic but if you're looking for people to really be involved and dedicate your project, um to your goal to your event, you need to kind of give them some some leeway feel like they have some ownership of the situation and in that case they are going to work um not only better but they're going to be more um inclined to work hard or you know get the hard stuff done if they feel like they can really control how this event goes.
Steve: So now that you’ve you've you're graduated um what are kind of the next steps in your leadership development? What kind of things are you going to be focusing on uh to propel yourself in the industry you want to go into?
Eric: So leadership I think is something that never stops. You can never stop learning about leadership stop watching great leaders. I think from my experience in the leadership institute I now pay attention to to leaders in industry and in in life more so whether it's something I'm interested in like hockey I watch different coaches. Um you know how they lead their teams how they bring you know 25 different people together for a common goal and how they work differently. I think I I try to pay attention to them more and kind of pick up one thing from different people right so you know so if you see you know person A is very good at the camaraderie and person B is very good at the organizational stuff I think try to look at all these people and try to see why they're successful. And see how I can integrate um their keys to success into what I do. So moving forward from here, like I said earlier in a in a full time job the first couple years you’re not going to have a lot of leadership. Um you're gonna have you’ll have a lot of bosses not all the people are gonna be working for you. But you always do have yourself to lead. So no matter if you know the project is all mine or if I have people helping me or if I'm doing a project for someone else, I can still use these the skills that I have learned to be a transformational leader even though I might only be working by myself or you know some some other people and not a not a huge group to lead like. Now you do and later in your career but I think that stick you know keeping up with with different books and things like that there's always stuff online others Ted talks um there's tons of different videos on leadership and I don't think it's necessary to watch them every day um but just kinda when you take that time to to self reflect you need to look back at everything you do so it's if it's a project if it's you know looking back after 6 months of work you just gotta take the time to look at yourself and say “okay what have I done well, what have I not done well, what can I change?” Um that that to me is super important always keeping your goals in the forefront so knowing which one of you you know this week, um this month this year the next 5 years, always keeping those goals updated. I think it's gonna be a big part for me as I move forward um in order to get to those final goals that I want 5 years down the road 10 years down the road from a you know professional or leadership standpoint.
Steve: So you said that leadership is definitely something that's an everyday thing it's constant and I know that
Dan I totally agree with that.
Eric: I'm Eric Dibble and thank you for listening for insight.
Filetype: MP3 - Size: 10.7MB - Duration: 15:19 m (98 kbps 44100 Hz)