Leadership often eludes precise definition.
Leadership “models” and “styles” abound. There’s no end to books, articles and podcasts discussing leadership dynamics. Post-secondary institutions do very well, thank you, offering leadership development programming. No self-respecting annual performance review leaves leadership undiscussed.
By its nature leadership is contingent and contextual. What passes for good leadership in one instance can be subjected to criticism and ridicule the next.
Yet, one thing is true: people know good leadership when they see it. Experience it. Feel it. From that perspective, leadership is less about how someone feels about their own competencies, but more about how they’re viewed by a third party in a “leadership moment.” In that sense, leadership is about being granted a “license to lead” — a license that is consistently tested and retested, moment after moment.
For Canada’s oil and gas sector, the current “transition era” will be a critical leadership moment. It’s a time during which the sector’s leadership capabilities will be in the spotlight. What the sector does will define its future leadership path; it will also shape its credibility and integrity with a diverse range of stakeholders, from politicians and the public to investors and governments.
If there is one thing certain about energy transition, it’s uncertainty. No one knows for sure exactly how transition dynamics will play out this year, next year or in the decades to come. Transition’s many dimensions — political, social, technological and economic — have their own subtleties and nuances. Each dimension will require different leadership thinking unique to the challenges and opportunities they present.
That reality places a great burden on industry’s leaders. Their individual efforts will define the sector’s collective leadership. Much rests on how they conduct themselves within their companies and organizations and their communities. There will be leadership moments internal to the sector and leadership moments external to it.
So, how well is the sector prepared? At geoLOGIC systems ltd. and JWN Energy, we asked that question. And we found more than a dozen CEOs ready to reflect on the pathways ahead.
In Engaging with our Future, we explore how these CEOs are thinking about energy transition leadership in all its glorious complexity. The series unpacks leadership in multiple ways and in different contexts, but all agree on a number of things:
- Canada is well positioned to lead on a global energy transition stage.
- The country’s oil and gas sector will play a central role within a transitioning “system of systems.”
- The sector’s commitment to innovation and self-disruption will continue to serve it well.
- Next-generation Indigenous partnerships will be a hallmark of Canada’s ESG and energy transition efforts.
- The sector will need to be authentic and transparent about how it communicates effectively with stakeholders increasingly concerned with environmental performance.
Over the next several months, we will run interviews with these CEOs, who collectively represent the sector’s diversity. These men and women are not only leaders in their own right, but they’re also recognized for their commitment to broader sectoral leadership.
They’re passionate and dedicated; they’re personable and authentic. They get that leadership isn’t simple and uncomplicated — and that it comes with responsibility and accountability aplenty.
Engaging with our Future interviews will be posted to the Daily Oil Bulletin and jwnenergy.com websites. The series kicks off Jan. 11, with Lisa Mueller, president and CEO of FutEra Power.