Energy industry leaders: beware of your blind spots!

Lessons from our executive coaching and leadership advisory work

It’s well established now that the energy industry is somewhat a lagger when it comes to innovation, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and attractiveness to Gen Zs or young talent in general. Through our work as an energy industry executive coach and leadership advisor, my clients and I have identified some common blind sports that seem to be partially behind this delay.

Our executive coaching, leadership development, and strategy consulting clientele come from the different industry sectors: oil and gas, utilities, renewable energy, and consulting practices. Some of these segments are younger and more dynamic than others. So they may score more highly in innovation, DEI, and attractiveness to the younger generation. But the blind sports that we list here are useful for improving profiles across the different segments.

Identify and address your blind spots

Before you review our list, we suggest that you consider blind spots that you’ve identified for yourslf as potential hurdles for innovation, DEI, and succession planning.

We have identified three common blind spots where leaders show up as lacking balance or awareness, and hence too closed off to embrace innovation, diversity, and exponential growth.

Balancing trust and competency

This appears to be a challenge for executives who have identified a close circle of employees that they clearly trust more than most other employees. The result is typically a wider perception that useful information and growth opportunities mostly go to members of this inner circle. Some may view this as favoritism and others may feel that it renders their leader blind to the real potential within their organization. The leaders we work with benefit from becoming more inclusive in their interactions and casting wider nets for engaging about new opportunities.

Balancing authority and influence

Expecting employees to do what they are told to do is getting old. In best case scenarios, they will exactly deliver what they are being asked to deliver to avoid unfavorable outcomes. The most innovative, ambitious talent starts looking for fulfilling roles elsewhere. They seek leaders who are strong influencers and open up the space for people to grow. This motivates them to go beyond implementing the visions of their leaders into taking ownership of the future. This is where innovators find room to grow and surprise their leaders with results that they themselves haven’t envisioned.

Clarity and accuracy of DEI-related communication

“We don’t have an issue here. We’re a pretty diverse organization. Look around you!” Assuming that DEI is just about gender and racial diversity may very well suggest to your employees that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Equity and inclusion have become far more important than diversity quotas and they can easily drive your diversity numbers up. Also, most top executives are not DEI experts. I would start by letting the experts collect and analyze the data and empower employees to share their experiences. An accurate picture of the state of DEI and a clear plan can go a long way in reinforcing your credibility as a leader and restoring faith in your organization.

Which of these resonated with you or with your experiences with other leaders? What can you do about them?

The trick with blind spots is that they may be noticeable for everyone around us but impossible to notice for us. This makes them a quick win in any professional development journey.

Contact us today to schedule your complimentary strategy session and discuss your strategy for identifying and addressing your own blind spots.