Some can be nervous and intimidated while others are poised to learn and soak in the knowledge of great leaders. It was the latter that set me on a mission to meet with University of Advancing Technology President and CEO Jason Pistillo. First I had to figure out how to even contact the president of my university and how could I get an opportunity to soak in the knowledge and leadership skills straight from the source? I knew it had to be in person, not by email or by phone -- I also knew it was going to be a daunting task but I was determined to make it happen.
President Pistillo was my first choice. I had never met him, but I hear almost daily from my peers student coworkers that he is a great leader. I made the decision promptly to talk to my Student Careers Manager to help me set up an appointment in person with President Pistillo. Sometimes this situation can seem intimidating, but I knew I could learn so much from him and provide others with advice and information that I had to pursue it.
My first impressions of President Pistillo was a sense of leadership but also humility. He had an aura of power but also very humble with a willingness to listen. He started by setting a clear outline of the time put aside for the interview. He then began with history, leadership skills and his team, all information I soaked in. I learned so much from just the interaction alone I could go on and on about it.
Leading with Confidence
Leaders have always been the backbone to our societies and provide a working social dynamic. President Pistillo went over how he runs the school, how he handles being a leader and having people look to him for guidance. One specific area that really caught my attention was when I asked what he considers leadership clothing. He responded by talking about confidence in oneself. Confidence in what you want to wear, how you want to look is what makes a leader different in the clothes he wears. To side note this he also mentioned that reputation plays a big part of respect.
I learned that confidence in oneself is a large factor in being a leader. If someone does not know themselves, how are they going to understand others? This confidence is built through mastering skills, connections and personal thought. He mentioned that meditating over actions that you have made over the day and thinking over how it could have been handled better is a great step in improving areas of concern.
He also went over that the skills he can provide to others is one reason he is in the position he is in. Every individual has skills that are useful and these skills can be improved, expanded and honed. Something that sets someone like President Pistillo apart is the skills he provides to his team but also the skills his team brings to him.
Success & Appreciation
We went over other content involving scheduling which was very intriguing and not something many people talk about. He spoke about how he schedules certain days for certain activities all day. One day he might have interviews and meetings scheduled only for that day and all day that day. The next day he might have a project he wants to work on that day and he only does that project on that day. Creating goals and planning for a successful day will result in success.
Showing others appreciation and how you care by helping and acknowledging people's success is a large portion of being a leader. President Pistillo went over how showing people that you notice the accomplishments or success they have achieved really shows you care for people as an individual and a leader. A leader cannot be a leader if they are alone, they need a team that they can work with every step of the way.
Falling on the sword
He mentioned that sometimes a leader has to make decisions that many people are not on board for. Some of these decisions have to be made or would otherwise yield possible repercussions or better results for the company, individual, or team. A leader has to fall on the sword and accept the impact and repercussions of every decision made whether it is good or bad.
A Moment to Remember
My experience in this endeavor was a moment at UAT that I will always remember. When pushing to further your knowledge and skills one will find unsuspected surprises along the way. This has served as a good step in furthering my pursuit of leadership and information and portraying that information to others. From day one, UAT has engraved the leadership spirit and mentality in my education, and this was an amazing example of that value UAT provides.