Q&A: Rockwater CEO on what makes a good leader
Published 9:30 pm, Thursday, November 7, 2013
Leadership, Rockwater Energy Solutions
1 Sector: Oil and gas
1 Headquarters: Houston
1 Greater Houston Employees: 153
1 Regional leader: Larry O'Donnell, president, CEO and chairman
1 Q: What makes a good leader?
1 A: To me, first, is to have the character and integrity, the core values that inspire confidence. You have to truly care about others, you have to be open and honest, and demonstrate enthusiasm and follow through. You have to clearly communicate the vision of where we want to go, and how they can drive the organization. You have to constantly listen and encourage feedback. And show that you listened by making adjustments. So, letting people know you don't know everything, I just think that's important. A leader has to focus and prioritize on the critical few things that make a difference. And part of my own core value, never give up. Learn from mistakes and take responsibility.
1 Q:Do you see leadership as an inherent trait or something you can learn?
1 A: I think effective leadership starts with a strong core value, which is who you are. To me that's molded by your upbringing and experiences along the way. But I certainly believe that they can be constantly improved and developed.
1 Q:How do you help people feel part of the corporate family?
1 A: We have town hall meetings throughout the company, to communicate our progress and our challenges, and to seek input from our employees. We are all part of the same team, with different roles. That's how you get the entire team pulling together in the same direction, and feeling like part of the team. I try to actively engage with employees. Here in the corporate office, I walk the halls. I frequently am out in the field, talking to employees. I try to get to know them on a personal level and I want them to get to know me.
1 Q:What is the importance of a leader showing enthusiasm?
1 A: It permeates the entire organization. If a leader is enthusiastic, it creates a positive atmosphere. Then people want to participate in making the company successful. When we are faced with challenges, keeping it positive helps motivate us to achieve success together. Enthusiasm is something we screen for in the hiring process and something we consider as we look at career progression.
1 Q:What is the leader's role in employee well-being?
1 A: What matters to people most is their family, so I try to get to know folks on a personal level. We're really trying to create an atmosphere where people do care about each other. I want every employee to know that safety comes first here, and if they encounter a situation that is unsafe and don't know how to proceed safely, they are to stop work and seek assistance. I know personally the impact safety failure can cause. Not just to the injured person; it impacts the entire family unit.
1 Q: On the survey an employee wrote that you lead by example. What does that mean to you?
1 A:We call our core values RISE: Respect, Integrity, Safety and Excellence. That's what we expect from each other every day. We want to maintain it. We've even passed on a few acquisitions because we didn't feel the targeted company shared our core values.
WorkplaceDynamics selected 15 award categories for companies that scored highly on employee responses to certain survey statements. The Chronicle asked several companies what led to their special awards.