Strong, visible leadership is as important to the safe operation of a nuclear reactor as the technology that hides within it, participants in a Paris nuclear leadership seminar were told.
“True leaders demonstrate their commitment to safety every day”, said Jeffrey Bone, Head of Operations at THORP Fuel Services and mentor of the 13th Leadership Seminar for Middle Managers.
That point was reinforced repeatedly during the five-day seminar, which drew participants from WANO members of nine different countries, from Argentina to Japan, to share their experiences and ideas on how to become better nuclear leaders.
“Being forced to really look at and question your leadership style, and challenge your shortfalls, is very powerful”, said David Tarery, an Advisor in Operating Nuclear Safety with Électricité de France.
Like most participants, Tarery was buzzing with energy and ideas to take back to his office following a series of interactive sessions on everything from communication styles, setting standards, nuclear safety culture and inspirational leadership. During their discussions, participants learned that analyses of industry events show that shortfalls in management and leadership frequently cause or contribute to plant events.
Facilitator Dawn Roberts, Project Manager with WANO PC, said middle managers play an important role in promoting nuclear safety. The Paris seminar was specifically designed to give this level of managers tools and guidance on how to better lead their work groups. It was also designed to bring peers from different countries and cultures together to share their experiences and learn from one another.
“There is true interaction in this group”, said Jessica Palmqvist, a Manager in the Nuclear Safety Department of Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co. “We are not just being fed information but are encouraged to share, discuss and challenge one another”.
For participants like Thomas Sundgren, Shift Manager at Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant, making personal connections with his global colleagues was just as important as the case studies and lessons shared by the facilitators.
“This week has been so inspiring”, Sundgren said. “I have found conversations during breaks are just as valuable as those in the sessions. I have made some great contacts”.
The 14th Nuclear Leadership Seminar will take place in late September 2014, venue TBC. For further details please contact Conrad Dubé, firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration details will be included in the next issue of Inside WANO.