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7 Questions on Leadership with Ancuta

Name: Ancuta

Title: Operation Manager

Organisation: Saint Gobain

With an engineering background, during last 20 years I have dive into managerial roles, from HORECA to metallic structures, eolic turbines and recently on glass industry. My activity fields are in Quality, Sustainability, H&S, production.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Ancuta's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

To find the smartest way making the people understand the common purpose of each one role, to reach the company objectives.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My leader skills came already from the school, where I had different roles on managing projects, ideias how to reach a goal and my colleagues natural fallowing and support me. Than in 2001 I've start my professional activity as an emigrant in Portugal(seeking continuously for a better life and conditions), where from a simple bartender in a few months I've start to have roles as team leader, location responsible until unit manager.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

This is not so easy, because I've born and raised as extremely responsible person, so everything I do is showing some impact on personal fillings which I take them home. When everything at work is ok, I'm ok and very energised, but when different crises situations appears I could say that I'm affected from personal point of view; here I'm searching for different ways to keep the energy with me and not lose everything(balance). During the week, each day is the same routine: breakfast, prepare for schools/job, spend few time with the kid(more less with husband) and sleep(after reading few pages of one book).

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

As leader I need to act as a "sponge" - listening different complains from my teams, apoint and support the positive approaches and making different "parallels" to deviate from the bad/not supportives ideias coming from them. At the end, each person is different; we need to know how to use the best skills of them and make them work together for the same purpose.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

I had read different books and attend also to some specific trainings, but I could say that a good/strong leader "born" somehow with this spirit. On the books and trainings, I have noticed different approaches which I have already with me, only that I was not aware that could make part of a development path. The most impactful for me was an 360 assessment, an action plan to improve the weak points, 10 archetypes identified for a human been combined with different readings on spirituality field.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

You need to be natural, spontaneous, joking, listening to the people(good or bad comments - "sponge"), but severe enough in such away the teams understood that when a decision is done is done; at the end the responsibility is your as leader.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

2019 when I've joined Saint Gobain, for a greenfield plant, with an 100 new fresh employees, barely knowing one each other(White collars, blue collars). In the town was organized by municipality a canoe competition. I had the idea to participate also our company and we proceed so; in 3 days I was able to have a team of 10 members(including myself - one women in a canoe of 10 members :)) and competing against other 10 teams from the town(teams with some experience on canoe sport), we succeed to finish on second place and qualified for the next competition at national level. The funniest part is that when we have the first trial(knowing nothing about this sport) was very bad experience because everyone in the both have rowing different that the other; for the second trial, we adopt a strategy(from the specific position in the both, until the necessary pace of paddles). Was there a spirit of "exceed the limits" on each one of us, that at the end we won. End story :) - very nice story to exemplify the leadership.

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