Leadership in the mining sector
Mining industry leaders are responsible for diverse, skilled teams. They must be technically adept and have a high level of emotional intelligence.
Great leaders in the mining industry have the experience, confidence and courage to support and guide their teams to achieve success.
Explore our collection of tips, articles, and resources that will allow you to get the best out of yourself and your team.
Leadership lessons from mining greats
1. Mentors and experience
Stratum’s earlier research report, The Lost Leaders, revealed a haemorrhaging of leadership talent from our industry, because of either baby boomers hitting retirement age, reduced levels of loyalty, or mining companies taking a myopic (or in some cases desperate) decision to shed senior talent. The potential value of older leaders as mentors is often overlooked when such decisions are made.
2. Hard work
Those who have any illusions that the pathway to leadership success is easy would have been disabused of that notion by listening to any one of my conversations. The management cliché has it that we should all work smarter rather than harder. My personal observation is that to get truly established, it is necessary to do both.
3. Hands-on experience
The understanding of how the industry works that is developed in operations cannot be replaced in the classroom and can be critical in establishing leadership credibility.
The impatience to fast track into leadership and expect instant success was also seen as a great weakness in an industry where a change in cycles and fortunes can take a decade.
In my experience, the most successful mining professionals are those who use the quieter periods that come in any career to extend their network and develop their skills.
Experience tells us that any career will have its fair share of mistakes, and all the people I interviewed were open about their mistakes and positive about the learning they gained. The mining industry should inherently understand the need to explore, test and analyse success and failure and apply the learning.
Clarity of communication can help to secure opportunities that might otherwise pass you by. David Netherway’s clarity of vision and purpose not only impressed his employers, it also placed him firmly on the track to leadership.
7. Nurture talent
Leaders encourage and support talent as a way of ensuring their own success. Just as the participants in this research had benefited from mentors in their own careers, each one has been generous in helping the next generation of leaders to succeed.
Free resources for leaders
Harvard Business Review
Australian Institute of Company Directors
A leadership book for technical professionals
In his book from Technocrat to Leader, Gordon distils the lessons he has learned on his way from being a mining engineering graduate to holding numerous leadership and senior management roles.
We sat down with Gordon to discuss his book and the key themes it covers.
Leadership in action
Building trust and respect through action
Creating a high-performance culture
Setting the path for success
Other leadership recommended reading
Adapting to COVID-19: eight key areas for mining leaders
With the onset of COVID-19, the mining sector has needed to redefine its principal risks. Leaders have refocused to ensure the health and safety of their workforce and the ongoing stability of their operations.
Seven considerations for aspiring directors
Taking a board role can enhance your career, but before becoming a director it’s important to fully understand your role and responsibilities.
Leading with integrity
Andrew Clough shares his perspectives on leadership, integrity and ethics as he reflects on his 38 year career in the mining industry.
Identifying and building leadership capability
Understanding leadership within organisations requires knowing what high performance looks like, and therefore what a leader needs to be able to do, as well as what qualities they should possess.