Leadership 2.0, the transformation of leadership. An interview with Marcin Ujejski, CEO of Blue Timber SA
Mr. Chairman, What does responsible leadership mean to you?
It depends whether you are asking me in the context of the work environment, the way business is conducted, or more in everyday life? To me, it can vary in these areas.
Actually, let’s go one step at a time.
My approach to responsible leadership starts with understanding the other person. In the work environment each person has his or her individual competence, but we are all from the same mold, so we have similar motives for taking action. A conscious approach to each person’s individuality, is to give them the space to take action in the area where they feel comfortable, where their competence gives the greatest value to the organization.
When it comes to leadership in everyday life, I believe that the most important thing is for both people to grow together. If the people around us grow mentally, emotionally or business-wise, that is. A conscious leader can’t always be recognized at first glance, but when we deal with such people we feel “more power.”
A leader is able to draw the best qualities out of another person.
When it comes to running a business, I think the world today already understands that it’s not just about profits in companies, and I’m not saying they’re not important, but today business itself should also have strategies for leaving a positive impact on the planet. Awareness of entrepreneurs is growing, and this is a good signal to the world to transform business primarily in the area of Sustainability, So what if there are billions idle in the accounts of big businesses? An idle man does not have a positive connotation so neither does money.
There was once a movie “money isn’t everything” and I think today’s business should focus first and foremost on a positive legacy for our descendants.
Therefore, responsible management is crucial to the success and sustainability of any organization. We need a holistic approach that goes beyond traditional business goals, such as profit maximization, and must take into account social and environmental issues.
Responsible management is also a concern for employees, each of whom is seen as an important and valuable resource. Organizations that practice responsible management strive to provide their employees with safe and friendly workplaces, and invest in their development and qualifications.
It is equally important for organizations to operate with respect for the environment. This means that we should adapt our processes and products to environmental requirements, and invest in environmentally friendly technologies and solutions.
Responsible management also means that organizations should be honest and transparent in their business dealings. They should ensure that their operations comply with the law and ethics, and treat their customers, suppliers and other stakeholders with honesty and integrity.
Very good summary, I feel that you have encapsulated the whole essence in these words . And what qualities do you think a Leader should have?
I try to avoid the word “should”, we all overuse this word feeling guilty when we should do something and we do not. Feeling guilty is not creative, A Leader may have some qualities that make it easier to function, but nothing should. First of all, “attentiveness” to be able to read feedback, and effectively understand what the other person has to give. I am very fond of the question “Why does a person have two ears and only one mouth… ” Because it takes twice as much listening as talking. The ability to listen allows us to know the motivations of the other person and gives us the opportunity to catch the context, because the use of words does not always accurately convey the message. Words limit the content of the message, so it is useful to clarify by asking the right questions, but to ask the right questions you need to know how to listen. And the ability to ask the right questions is the second important quality of a leader.
What do you think about effectiveness? There is a lot of talk today about effectiveness as a result of properly taken actions, is the role of a leader to be effective?
We are maturing to understand that the role of a leader is to deliver, not to be busy. There used to be a risk that if someone organized their work to the level that they didn’t have to make a big effort to meet KPIs, they would quickly be “optimized”. Fortunately This has already changed, today efficiency is important in a leadership role. If you can command tasks effectively it means that you are attentive and can listen so it is a characteristic of being a leader. A leader doesn’t have to be able to do everything, but if he can use his skills in the right context and manage them with the people he deals with then he will be effective without the slightest effort.
If we are the leader, there is a saying that error is the privilege of philosophers, and only fools never err. How does a leader approach mistakes that are made?
Being able to admit a mistake takes courage, but is crucial to being able to correct the mistake and work on yourself. Speaking holistically, living in the truth requires us to be extremely courageous. The decisions we make on the basis of truthful information always produce good results in the long term, so every leader must take this into account in his actions. In our organization, all conflicts that are de facto the result of inadequate communication are resolved by direct confrontation, because only then are we able to get to the source of the conflict and effectively resolve it. Let’s make mistakes, admit them, learn from them.
Thank you for sharing your perspective on these important aspects for many. I would like to ask you a little more about the unusual decision to reverse the acquisition of the company from NC Blue Tax Group, which you changed to BeLeaf SA. In your strategy you wrote that you will implement environmental projects through it, Can you share with us what specifically you are planning?
Environmental protection is as important in responsible business management as responsible leadership. Companies should align their operations with environmental requirements and invest in green technologies and solutions. That’s why we decided to create a simple tool for companies to boast about their environmental performance in ESG reports. BeLeaf has the ambition to create a new alternative market for smart timber futures reducing carbon footprint in Europe. We see that Europe needs a simple solution that will become both a climate protection measure and a good investment for companies.
Can you say more clearly what exactly these smart contracts are?
Yes, for example, company X wants to be Carbon Neutral, we do a carbon footprint audit, and give a proposal to invest in a tree plantation that absorbs the CO2 equivalent that the company emits. After the contract matures, we convert the wood from the plantation into live cash and buy out the contract. During the period in which the company owns it, it reduces its carbon footprint with the world’s simplest CO2 cycle encapsulated in natural wood, widely used in the timber industry.
Marcin Ujejski – president and major shareholder of Blue Timber SA, which manages the DrewnoDlaDomu brand and the NC-listed company BeLeaf SA. Author of the book “Mathematical Formula for Success”.
Last Updated on July 4, 2023 by Anastazja Lach