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7 Questions on Leadership with James Maurice Bumpas

Name: James Maurice Bumpas

Title: CEO

Organisation: Bumpas Technical Services LLC

Location: United States

Father, Son, Brother, and Husband, who, at all times, is a servant leader, James Maurice Bumpas has served for over 30 years in many high-tech roles, industries, and countries. He coaches and mentors the youth and the young at heart. James is a US Veteran who serves in his local community and supports global initiatives that impact our world.

James uses his subject matter expertise in leadership, emotional intelligence, and technology to improve business, information technology and management processes. He also exudes confidence and executive presence while guiding software development life cycle programs. A consummate communicator, James delights in people and proactively seeks the type of collaboration that generates the proverbial WIN-WIN.

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

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


Jonno White

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

Corporate Patience: To know what to do or what needs to be done is not enough. As leaders, we must communicate this need to others, seek alignment, sometimes convincing, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing, then we must empower, enable, incentivize, motivate, report, and track to completion. These elements all take time; critical time that leaders must then contemplate if it is time well spent. Therefore, Corporate Patience is a leadership skill of foresight and endurance.

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

I am often asked are leaders born or made. I say, "YES". I am a firm believer that there are people born with inate or natural leadership abilities that can be honed into skills with hard work and practice. However, I also believe in "kung-fu" or time and energy... You see, for me, I believe that I have applied both principles in my life. On purpose; intentionally! So, how did I become a leader? I became a leader to offset all of the bad leaders, who had been appointed over me and my teammates.

People who were 'leaders in title only' (LITOs). People who had these awesome opportunities to guide others to be their best and to work together to accomplish a common goal or task. However, these people were appointed with no anointing. They had some entitlement, some privilege, someone who placed them there without a care of the damage to team morale or effectiveness or efficiency. So, I and great leaders like me, stand in this gap.

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

I structure my workday with intentionality. From the time I wake up, I plant my first thought of how my day will be. IT'S GOING TO BE A GREAT DAY! I thank God for allowing me to see a day I have never seen nor experienced before! No 'wait and see' approach for me. No one to hijack my day. No one to rent space in my head controlling my mood, my thoughts or actions.

On my commute back home after work, I process how my day went. I sift and sort what went well; not-so-well; what I might do differently, if given the chance with the same criteria and inputs... Then, on my best days, which occur more often than not, I put it all away. Compartmentalization. I arrive at my home excited to see my family. I cannot wait to kiss my bride. I cannot wait to hear how her day went and to simply be present for her. I cannot wait to call my daughter and my son to check on my grand babies.


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

I have recently been reminded of the leadership lesson that it is naive and arrogant of me to think that, as a leader, I alone, can change a company, an organization, a department, any person beyond myself. There is a natural unwillingness and resistance to change in a company's culture. Sometimes, unfortunately that culture has all the trappings and failures of the human condition, i.e. bigotry, cronyism, racism, elitism, chauvinism.

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?

The Holy Bible is the book that has had a profound impact on my leadership so far. The story of God's Love for each of us presented in the Holy Bible reminds me to love others with genuine compassion and understanding. To lead by example and to be of good character with integrity. I try to be above reproach, but I often fail.

I keep trying to improve on the mistakes I have made in the past. I pray for my team, my leaders. And the most difficult thing for me right now in my journey is to pray for my enemies. This is a key differentiator from any other book I have read or leadership concept to adopt. This is profound.

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

Find mentors to help you develop into your best self as a leader and when you are ready, also mentor others.

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

Never underestimate the difference you make in someone's life, as a leader.

When I led a team of Process Computer Maintenance Electricians at a manufacturing facility, I had one team member who seemed to be difficult on purpose. Disruptive during our team meetings, opinionated, seemed alienate other team members, etc. They were visibly uncomfortable and did not want the electrician to focus on them directly. Quite similar to a bullying situation.

So, I held a one on one meeting with this person and shared my concerns about the witnessed behavior and the resultant impact on the team. I asked the electrician why they behaved the way they did. The electrician said they did it because they liked to understand why people did the things they did and it was intriguing. The electrician said they did not know that it came across so negatively and they would work on it.

Time went on and the situation did improve for the team. However, at first glance, the electrician seemed more disengaged and quiet during our meetings. As more time passed, the electrician visibly warmed up to their teammates and spoke more openly and respectfully with less interruptions.

During a retirement ceremony, the electrician's father, a 30-year retiree himself, came to celebrate a friend's retirement. The father walked up to me at the end of the ceremony, introduced himself and said, "my son tells me that you are the best manager he has ever had." I am shocked as he continues, "my son is a union steward and typically despises leadership and distrusts management but he trusts you. I don't know what you did but keep on doing it. Oh and don't tell him I told you..."

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