Step Up, Stand Out

Nick Eva is a newly chartered waste manager. But in his day job he deals with recruitment, as a director of WasteRecruit. So, we asked what sort of aptitude, personality and skills will set the next generation of waste managers apart?


The waste and recycling sector has changed at an incredible rate in the last 20 years, and it’s inevitable that it will only continue to change and morph. It means that the modern waste manager needs to be someone who not only understands and appreciates this ever changing landscape, but is comfortable with it and is able to adapt quickly and effectively, identifying opportunities as opposed to challenges.

Graduate recruitment is becoming ever more sophisticated, with a greater understanding of the sorts of challenges graduates will face and need to overcome as they progress through their career. The use of modern assessment tools means that many companies are better able to measure candidate potential and improve the accuracy of their recruitment decisions.

To be a top waste manager, first and foremost, you need to have high natural aptitude; you need to be able to absorb and process different types of information quickly and accurately. You can’t just be bright though, you need to have a broad understanding of – and interest in – the sector. An openness to learning new things, a desire to improve existing ways of working and the ability to focus on immediate challenges and longer term goals at the same time are all important.

The ability to communicate and influence others has never been more important in the work place. Great leaders are collaborators and inclusive communicators; they want to work with others and have the capacity to engage others and gain buy-in positively, whether selling a new idea or improving the operational performance of a waste facility.

They have the capacity to adapt their message for different audiences, they know when to speak and when to listen and they know when to assert themselves and when to be team oriented.

In a world where emotional decision-making currently seems to be in fashion, the reality is that emotional stability has never been more important. The ability to remain calm under pressure, adapt to changing circumstances and respond quickly to setbacks is increasingly the key to success in all aspects of the sector.

That’s not to say a bit of anger and passion isn’t desired, because that’s not the case. It’s about context and control! Anyone can get angry and throw their toys out of the pram, but the ability to deal with change, pressure and setbacks quickly and efficiently is where that competitive advantage can come from.

These are the traits which we believe the waste manager of the future will need to possess, along with the necessary skills to do the job, of course. I expect to see plenty of these in evidence over the two days of this year’s NMN event.







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