Strong leadership has a direct impact on a company’s bottom line: with it an operation has the clarity of vision and the direction to meets its goals. In
the last 10 years, leadership development has become an increasingly important component of business schools’ curricula, with Bloomberg Businessweek
ranking the “Top Schools for Leadership in 2012.”
For the mining industry, a similar attention to leadership development is critical for strengthening the sector over the long term. That is why I, along
with a group of industry leaders, signed up for the first cohort of Leading in Mining, the CIM leadership development program, last February.
The program, which was developed by Rosie Steeves, president of Vancouver-based Executive Works; and Chuck Edwards, past-president of CIM, dissolved the
myth that “leaders are born, not made.” I realized that the best leaders work at it and see the development of leadership skills as a lifelong process. The
12-month program showed me that we can all develop our leadership skills, but it is not done in a one-day course; it takes time and is an ongoing process.
And the starting point is self-awareness.
This awareness came from an activity called a “360 evaluation,” which enabled me to align my internal view of myself as a leader with the views of my
colleagues and peers. The process consisted of collecting anonymous, open feedback from supervisors, colleagues, staff and peers, and comparing it to my
perceptions. This was challenging but invaluable in helping me identify my strengths and the areas I want to develop.
In order to prepare for the course, participants had to complete a “Leadership Development Profile” – a questionnaire designed to identify each
participant’s leadership style, strengths and weaknesses. We were asked to share our test results openly, and as we all came from different companies, we
were able to be honest and supportive without the barriers that can sometimes occur during in-house training. My leadership development profile revealed
that I am an “achiever” type, one who is focused on end-goals and prides herself on delivery. My challenge was to slow down and look for opportunities to
help others achieve their goals through positive influence.
Our group built a lot of trust through these activities, which was important as we continued to learn more about how we deal with conflict, how our
colleagues and peers view us and about our ability to accurately interpret the world around us. We were encouraged to discover the characteristics of
leadership that we value personally and to share those in a group setting.
Ultimately, the program gave me the tools to develop as a leader in a way that is aligned with my values. I am now better equipped to support my
organization, colleagues and peers, and to encourage everyone to consider the impact that leadership could have in our industry.
Alana Kennedy, director of marketing and communications at the Mining Industry Human Resources Council
, is responsible for promoting MiHR solutions and products through stakeholder communications. Alana was formerly head of marketing for a group of accountants in the UK. She is a Chartered Marketer (UK) with more than 14 years of experience.