Whichever role an environmental services (ES) professional has on a given team or project, demonstrating humility, authenticity and integrity as a starting point will increase people’s respect and trust, and help him or her to work collaboratively and effectively.

Behave like a student, not a critic. ES professionals should use the opportunity of being a contributor to study how others approach leadership. Rather than second-guess how things are done or decisions are made, observe how other leaders actually go about them.

Including assumptions and hypothetical thinking in potential solutions can result in undesirable outcomes.

When the opportunity presents itself, ES professionals should consider the people in the leadership roles as their teachers. They should study how they think about managing a team and how they approach it. The ES professionals should assume that leaders have knowledge they don’t have and learn from them. ES professionals also should ask questions and seek clarification for understanding.

Focus and be assertive. Even if an ES professional is not running a team or project, he or she can still use his or her experience and skills to help the team as a whole. In other words, they should lead themselves, lead tasks or lead teams. Because ES professionals don’t have full control doesn’t mean they are not accountable for doing their best work. In fact, they have a greater responsibility to demonstrate behaviors that reflect the values and character of a role model to their peers.

Model ideal character and behavior. Being a good follower may be more difficult than being a good leader. ES professionals should ask themselves, “How would I want someone on my team to do this job if I were running things?” Then work on doing the job that way. People will take note of how well-oriented the leader is and how supportive he or she has been.