The most valued leadership traits in mining

Mining Journal Intelligence is gearing up for the launch of the 2020 Global Leadership Report, researched in partnership with Swann and innovation consultancy, Stratalis Group.

Based on in-depth interviews with C suite mining executives and a survey of more than 500 mining professionals, the report highlights the challenges that sector leaders are facing right now and predicts how they expect their focus will change by 2030. 

The full report is due to be published before the end of the month. But Mining Journal Intelligence has released a preview of some of the headline findings from its survey which focuses on the most desirable skills and traits for mining leaders. 

According to survey respondents, the top eight most desirable leadership traits for 2020 are:

  1. Vision
  2. Communication
  3. Lead by example
  4. Mining industry experience and knowledge
  5. Commitment
  6. Flexibility
  7. Administrative/managerial experience
  8. Inspirational

Since the Global Leadership Report was launched in 2018, ‘Vision’, ‘Communication’ and ‘Lead by example’ have competed for the top positions. While this may be an unsurprising top three, some commentators, including Swann Group CEO, Lorraine Meldrum, argued the case for a higher position for ‘Lead by example’. 

“People can hear the words, and they can read the words, but they need to actually see the commitment from the leadership.” 

Lorraine Meldrum

It is perhaps more surprising to find ‘Mining industry experience and in fourth position. Mark Hemingway of Stratalis Group suggests that, “In a dynamic world, where trust and relationships matter as much as operations, skills and competencies other than mining industry experience and expertise, are considered critically important.”

Lorraine Meldrum, however, believes that, although there is great value in bringing talent from outside of the sector into mining leadership positions, there is still some resistance from employers. 

“Companies will still look for people with experience in mining because it’s different. West Africa’s different; Canada’s different – these are locations where each offer something different. But you need some experience of it to get you to the top of the mining company… It is a bit ‘chicken and egg’. How do I get the experience if nobody will give me a job in the industry?”

You can access the initial findings from the Global Leadership Survey on the Mining Journal website.  

John Larpent, Managing Director, Cygnet Search