MEC event: mining experts discuss the transition to leadership – and how to lead well once you’re there

MEC Mining’s booked-out event, ‘Making the transition from technical expert to leader’, was attended by more than 50 mining engineers on 19 October.

Held at Alchemy Restaurant and Bar on the banks of the Brisbane River, this relaxed forum gave rise to thought-provoking discussions on the nature of leadership and its inherent challenges.

Panellists who shared their insights at the event were:

  • Maria Joyce (MEC Mining General Manager – Strategy and Business Development)
  • Simon Cohn (Ortus Mining Director and MEC Mining Non-Executive Director)
  • Adam Frankish (Batchfire Resources Manager – Geology)

In opening the event, Maria Joyce encouraged the mining engineers present to take advantage of networking opportunities: “If there is one piece of advice I could give my younger self, it would be to get out there. Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Networking isn’t about giving your pitch – it’s about forging a connection… You honestly never know where that relationship might lead down the track.”

MEC’s Business Development Coordinator Andrew Dittmann then chaired the discussion with the panel, fielding questions from the audience about the evolution from technical expert to leader.

Asked how leaders can best help their teams, Simon Cohn emphasised that leaders should ask themselves daily how they can communicate and help their teams. “It’s all about communicating with your team and allowing them to come up with ideas and actions,” explained Simon.

The expert panellists also stressed the need for excellent communication, team environments that foster collaboration and trust, and the ability to give team members autonomy while working towards a common goal.

When asked about the difficulties faced when becoming a manager, Adam Frankish outlined the importance of maintaining a professional persona in the workplace and establishing a boundary between friendship and workmates. “As a leader, important decisions are needed to be made on a daily basis, there must be a mutual understanding amongst peers that the path the business takes is the path that is best for the business”, said Adam.

Following the success of this event, MEC plans to facilitate similar events in future where mining professionals can network and learn from each other. If you’re interested in hearing more, email and we’ll keep you in the loop so you don’t miss out.