It is with great pleasure, in my role as the AusIMM President for 2019 and 2020, that I provide this book review for a long-term Institute Member and Fellow, Donald Macrae Gordon (Don).
In his book titled 'From Technocrat to Leader - The essence of leadership and the rewards of earning trust and showing care' Don provides practical and personal guidance to all people who are on the path to becoming leaders.
As engineers we generally learn how to solve puzzles and the answers to complex questions. What we don't often learn is how to ask the right questions, to have emotional intelligence and how to be good leaders.
This knowledge deficit can result in difficulties later in our careers if not addressed.
Don quite rightly focuses his narrative on the foundations of leadership — trust and care ? as all other aspects of successful leadership rely on the application of these fundamentals.
There is discussion of the particular challenges that technically-trained people face in becoming leaders, and how to overcome these difficulties.
Short but practical exercises are provided at the end of each chapter to reinforce the learnings from the chapter and to allow the reader to reflect on their own achievements and developmental needs in that particular aspect of leadership.
Don explains that if you are to succeed as a leader your people need to trust you; this trust frees them to accept the care that you as their leader want and need to provide. The book covers in depth how to build trust, and how to carefully rebuild it if lost. It details behaviours and attitudes that can destroy trust.
Trust alone is a hollow vessel and will not motivate people to follow you. To be fully functional it must be filled with empathy, compassion and care.
Don also highlights the importance of physical and mental health, listening actively, avoiding a culture of blame and empowerment.
As well as 'the how', Don addresses 'the why' in terms of the intrinsic motivators that come from within us; determining if we are passionate about something, find it satisfying and fulfilling and want to do our best at it; the flip-side being the extrinsic motivators which are external and include appreciation, fear, financial reward, public acclaim and avoidance of adverse outcomes.
AusIMM is committed to being the trusted voice of authority and influence in the resources sector. Our purpose is to provide a platform for robust, evidence-based discussions, which help us build a better, safer, and more sustainable industry. This is more important than ever before, because the modern mining landscape has become increasingly complex. And in such a complex environment, great leadership and trust is vital.
Therefore it is timely for Don to have written and published this book at this time and I encourage current as well as emerging leaders to have a read.
This book provides practical guidance to all people who are on the path to becoming leaders. The author focuses on the foundations of leadership — trust and care. Read more about “From Technocrat to Leader”