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A mentor’s perspective of WANO’s new Nuclear Leadership Programme

When Mr Gao Ligang, the President of China Generation Nuclear (CGN), asked me to mentor 36 managers on the first dual language (Chinese and English) Nuclear Leadership Programme, I didn’t know what to expect from the course.

However, the quality and effectiveness of the programme was excellent throughout. It was unlike any other leadership course I have attended, because the material was tailored to meet the specific challenges and requirements of leadership in the commercial nuclear power industry.  

The style of teaching used the Socratic method, which is a form of co-operative, argumentative dialogue between the attendees. By asking and answering questions of the delegates, the course was able to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions. Individuals were asked to relate their own personal experience and examined practical case studies from the industry, forming the basis of the learning. Each of the delegates, representing 15 power plants, contributed to the discussions.

In my role as mentor I was encouraged to challenge the thinking of the delegates and to contribute my own perspectives, stories and comments to reinforce the learning. I was actively included as part of the learning process.

I was involved in both selecting the delegates and then following up with them after the programme to ensure that they continued to learn and refine their skills. Even now, when I visit a plant, I take time to meet up with the delegates. I have been delighted to see that they are applying the principles and skills that they learnt on the course into the workplace. The result is that they are becoming better leaders.

Even as an experienced nuclear professional with many years in the industry, I have personally learnt a lot from undertaking this programme. I’ve included with this article a picture of my office wall, where I display copies of many of the key models.

It is there to remind me that I can become an even better leader.

Steven Lau

Senior Advisor to the President, CGN-Power