Russ Volckmann

“Everything Tyrone O’Sullivan knows about leadership and management he learned at the coal face, at the pithead, and on the picket line.

“Take your place in history.
You’ve been given a unique part to play at a unique stage of your company’s history. Make the most of it. ‘No one could write a history of the mining industry without the Tower experience. Now, as leaders, we are major players in that history,’
“Pat, don’t kick.
Create a workforce that is working with you–not for or against you. ‘If you’ve had nothing but kicks in your life, another kick will make no difference. What will make a difference is a pat on the back and being allowed to share in the good times.’
“First ask, then act.
Always manage by consent with those in the know. ‘I don’t care what industry you’re in: All the knowledge is on the shop floor, not in the boardroom. If you don’t mine the knowledge from those people, you’re failing your company.’
“Know when to walk away.
Always know your price; don’t sell yourself short. ‘When we first bid for the pit, the power stations wouldn’t give us the price for the coal that we needed. I told them that all my working life I’d fought to ensure my men had decent wages–and that I wasn’t going to undersell them now. I walked away. They caved in. My problem is that I always think I’m right, but I don’t consider it a weakness. I’ve got to have confidence in my judgment.”

Tyrone O’Sullivan from Fast Company, November 2001