Des Dalton, Engineering & Maintenance Manager, Loy Yang B Power Station
“A journey of 12 years with multiple side tracks, blind alleys, stops and starts culminating in a significant landing in 2009.Yet the journey continues.Loy Yang B is a modern brown coal power station constructed in the early 1990s and has been privately owned for all of its operating life.Because of the ground-breaking private ownership structure a unique industrial environment was created. Despite being in a traditional trade union area a non-traditional site organisation based on multi-skilling was implemented. A flat management structure with only three levels of responsibility was set up.
The Engineering & Maintenance Department was set up with 3 teams and 3 team leaders managing the entire maintenance workforce.Over the initial 7 to 8 years these team leaders and their teams consolidated their skills and competencies within each team but grew apart as a whole.The team leaders became isolated “Captains of their ships” with deteriorating personal relationships.The stress of managing their teams in isolation, without any peer support, the growing antipathy between team leaders and a lack of management support lead to some team leaders bordering on becoming dysfunctional.
The then manager sought assistance from the Community and Employee Relations department who recommended Jeff Steedman as a facilitator. Over a period of 2 years Jeff worked with the 3 team leaders and the manager to again bind them together using Choice Theory. These sessions concluded in 2001".
In the period 2001 to 2005 another team leader was appointed and the team leaders lapsed back into their old ways. In latter part of 2005 a new manager was appointed. In talking within teams he learnt that team members again saw their team leaders as a back biting group of non supportive individuals. The manager presented his analysis to the team and they agreed that they had relapsed into their old controlling ways.
The group consensus was that a repeat of “ChoiceTheory” was needed. Jeff Steedman was again contacted and he started to work with the leadership group in January 2006 using William Glasser’s theory of Lead Management.
The objectives of this program were –
- 1 Develop and improve the relationships within the leadership team to ensure that we do in fact operate as a team.
- 2 Develop leadership skills based on the “Lead Management” philosophy developed by William Glasser.
- 3 Provide the leadership team with a basic understanding of human behaviour (i.e. how and why people react and behave in different ways) and how this impacts on their ability to be good leaders.
The program was 3 hour sessions fortnightly with two day workshops in 2006 and 2009. Prior to the 2009 workshop the team saw progress in the following areas:
- 1 Inter-team relationships
- 2 Leadership Skills – aligned with Lead Management Principles
Up to the 2009 Workshop the teams were learning and exhibiting Lead Management skills but lacked the fundamental understanding of the principles.
This changed during the 2009 Workshop which was built around learnings from the book “Ah ha Performance” by Douglas Walker.
The team were lead through the principles re motivating a self managing workforce and this time embraced them wholeheartedly. In subsequent sessions with Jeff, the team is working to implement these principles in dealing with their teams and customers.
In parallel with this activity a group of second lieutenants have commenced a similar program with Jeff as a career succession/progression process. This has led to a larger integrated management team of 11 compared to the group of 5 which started in 2001. Note only 3 of the original 5 remain.”