Experts explore leadership in mining at MEC networking event

Lead by example; talk to people in a language they understand; be clear and confident in your message and your expectations. These were some of the pieces of advice given to mining engineers at MEC Mining’s recent industry networking event on 22 March. Over 50 people were present for the evening at Brisbane’s Alchemy Restaurant and Bar to exchange ideas on creating highly functional teams and balancing work performance with a healthy company culture.

Guests heard from three expert panellists:

  • David Plowman – General Manager, MEC Mining With more than 20 years’ experience in the coal, copper and gold mining industries, having worked extensively in both technical and operational roles, David has managed owner-operator operations and mine-contracting companies in both Australia and developing countries.
  • Rebecca Livesey – Founder and Managing Director, Achieve-Lead-Succeed With an MA in mathematics from Oxford University, a love for culture change models and strategic frameworks, Rebecca is an accredited behavioural profiler with more than 17 years’ experience working in numerous corporate leadership roles across Australia and the UK.
  • Ben Myall (Practice Lead – Surface Mining, Centre of Excellence, Rio Tinto Growth and Innovation) Ben has spent over 11 years in the industry as an experienced operations and technical services manager, and has a demonstrated history of delivery in the mining and metals industry.

Their discussion, chaired by MEC’s Andrew Dittmann, covered various aspects of leadership, from establishing standards and behaviours, to promoting engagement and building solid relationships.

David Plowman noted the importance of building a positive work culture into corporate strategy. The panellists agreed that good leaders are able to de-stress the work environment, acting as a filter so that teams don’t panic and their work doesn’t suffer. Ben Myall stressed the need to believe in the ability of one’s team to achieve great results, even in the face of tough production targets.

Rebecca Livesey talked about communication and the benefits of getting feedback on your own leadership. The panel discussed that the nature of leadership involves learning from mistakes, as well as accepting that everyone is different and finding the best ways to utilise the unique strengths of individuals. Attendees were also advised to have difficult conversations early, as failure to address issues can eat away at team morale and erode confidence in your abilities as leader.

We thank David, Rebecca and Ben for contributing to a thought-provoking discussion and sharing plenty of practical tips. The event was an excellent platform for mining engineers at various points in their careers to gain an insight into leadership and company strategies that foster thriving teams, and to network with like-minded professionals.

If you’re interested in reading more around leadership, the panellists’ list of recommended reading includes: