Michael Thomas (he/him), General Manager of our Broadmeadow Mine in Australia. This is his story.
I have been very privileged because I haven’t faced obstacles to my career progression or in my ability to participate fully in work processes. That’s why I am acutely aware I need to be curious and seek to understand the path others have walked, and as a leader, I can actively create opportunities that promote an improved felt experience for everyone.
I spent the early part of my working career in the military where I learnt that teamwork is essential for success. In my experience, the best and most successful teams were those who created an environment where everyone was empowered and enabled to contribute, and where individual differences and diversity were recognised as force multipliers that provided a winning edge.
Unlocking the benefits that come with an inclusive and diverse workplace are enormous and will benefit all. The simple fact is that more diverse teams are safer and more productive, and who doesn’t want to be part of a winning team? Diversity represents an opportunity to redesign work and our workplaces to make the work experience safer and more fulfilling for all team members.
Mining is a great industry with a multitude of opportunities. As a member of the Inclusion and Diversity Council, I’m driven to ensure our workplaces and camps are a safe place for everyone and that physical roadblocks like housing, childcare, job design and flexibility are addressed to improve the experience for all employees.
There are no bad teams, just poor leaders. We need to take ownership and create an environment that embraces inclusion and diversity. We must be prepared at every opportunity to talk our people through benefits of inclusion and diversity. And we must address any disrespectful behaviours that detract from our mission and weaken our team.
We need to start being active bystanders. At every level, we must expect and reward behaviours that support a culture of care and respect. With curiosity and by seeking to understand the experience of others, we can unlock opportunities and empower innovation in our workplaces.
By continuing to challenge the status quo, our best days are in front of us.