7 Habits of Effective Refinery Leaders | RefinerLink

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7 Habits of Effective Refinery Leaders

By Ralph Laurel

Jan 23, 2017

Just being a supervisor or a manager doesn’t automatically make you a leader.


1.  Find a balance between being liked and being feared 


You can’t be the best friend but likely don’t want to be hated either. It’s a little bit like being a parent. Being liked, and more importantly respected, makes it easier to motivate your direct reports and to get them to do what you need. At the same time, if they’re not afraid of the repercussions of not meeting deadlines or following directions it may result in an environment where there is no sense of urgency to keep things on track.

2.  If something doesn't feel right, don’t be afraid to ask questions

The biggest responsibility you have as a leader is to ask questions. Even if you don’t have any knowledge or experience with the given topic your question may lead to the discovery of a potential hazard. Major safety and reliability events can often be prevented by someone willing to ask a few questions. Don’t be afraid of appearing unknowledgeable and risk a major incident.

3.  Fight for your people


As a supervisor you work for your people as much as they work for you. Whether it’s fighting for equipment that makes their job safer or fighting for more recognition for the work they’ve done, this is something you owe them. If you fight for them, they will likely fight for you.

4.  Don’t use generic one-liners as substitutes for real guidance 

Phrases like “be creative” or “let’s make sure we understand what happened” add no value. People don’t need to be told to be creative and most realize that if something has gone wrong, it’s probably good to understand what happened.

If your comments don’t tell your team anything they don’t already know, don’t say anything. Just because you’re a supervisor doesn’t mean you have to fill the silence. Work with your people and try to understand the challenges they face. And then help them remove the obstacles that present themselves. Be part of the solution.


 5.  Make the tough decisions


Leaders make tough decisions. Not always the favored one, and not always the one that makes you look good. The worst thing for an organization is to have “leadership” not willing to make decisions and putting off tough choices in anticipation of a magic solution.


6.  Push back and voice your disagreements with direction from


Don’t hesitate to speak up in fear of how that impacts your personal appearance. As a leader, your duty is to your team. And you are their voice to those higher in the organization. This doesn’t mean you have to disagree with everything, but it does mean pushing back when there are good reasons to. Support your arguments with facts and reason. Again, you’re not a leader if all you’re doing is following.

7.  Don’t forget where you came from

No matter how high up the ladder you climb, don’t take yourself too seriously. Remember the people that helped you along the way and don’t forget what it was like when you first started out. Value the opinions and feelings of those in your organization and treat others with the respect they deserve. This seems pretty basic but it’s something that many leaders forget about.



So hopefully this list at least gives you something to think about as you continue your journey as a leader. And if you get stuck along the way, just “be creative.”

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  • :   i sure see a lot of incidents where managers are reluctant to ask questions when they aren't sure. it's ironic how they find ways of asking the "stupid questions" and then don't ask questions when they should.

    Apr 27, 2012

  • Albert :   i think that a leader could have more of 7 habits thats are Necessary for guiding at rest of team to obtain the best result in your live personal goals and professional

    Jun 25, 2014

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