On May 25, the PESA Emerging Leaders Committee hosted its bi-monthly leadership forum with PESA Advisory Board Member Kirk Shelton, President, NOV Completion & Production Solutions, National Oilwell Varco. Leadership forums allow member company high performers to interact with industry executives through open dialogue structured around a targeted theme. In this forum, Shelton shared his six pillars of success.
Great Leaders Share a Skillset
Successful people often share many character traits, including knowing when to ask for help and embracing the opportunity to learn. Shelton’s first pillar of success was not to be afraid to ask for advice, noting that people enjoy sharing their expertise.
When individuals go above and beyond to lend a helping hand, always show gratitude. This applies to everyone from entry-level employees to executives. Noting that this can be as little as picking up the tab at lunch; no gesture goes unnoticed.
“Showing gratitude promotes loyalty, builds a following and earns appreciation,” stated Shelton. “Once you are in a leadership position, always remember where you came from and be willing to give back.”
True leaders possess a strong work ethic and keep a sense of urgency. Touching on a reoccurring theme throughout the leadership forum series, Shelton encouraged attendees to be willing to try new things as opportunities arise. Giving employees opportunities to take on new and different tasks expands skill sets and creates a positive work environment.
“Giving employees responsibilities outside their comfort zone creates ownership and builds leadership,” stated Shelton. “Always say ‘yes’ to learning a new skill or adding to your role because you never know where that opportunity may take you.”
As leaders work to develop their skills and expertise, understanding the importance of communication is crucial. Shelton also emphasized the importance of choosing the correct means of communication. Time sensitive or delicate situations should be communicated over the phone or in person to convey urgency and leave less room for misinterpretation.
Effective and efficient communication should foster engagement and create loyalty throughout an organization. Understanding how to communicate with different generations and collaboratively working to develop future industry leaders creates a positive impact within an organization and leaders should guide their teams to help create the future.
“Investing in employees and allowing them to deliver their own strategies creates ownership,” stated Shelton. “Empower employees to solve their own problems, share their visions and be part of creating the future.”
Don’t Forget to Walk the Talk
Often people are advised to “walk the walk” but Shelton, building on his pillar of communication, says to walk the talk. In addition to leading by example, leaders must communicate their intentions, act with integrity and be able to admit when they make mistakes. True leaders know how to take accountability for their mistakes and convert the situation into a learning opportunity.
Hard work and lessons learned help leaders develop future strategies. Strong leaders maintain a positive attitude and overcome failure with grace. Reiterating that while optimism is a great quality, Shelton added a final piece of bonus advice that hope is not a strategy.
“Success doesn’t come from simply ‘hoping’ something will happen,” stated Shelton. “Success stems from the combination of hard work, planning, determination and leadership. Be a positive agent of change in your company and in your industry.”
Kirk Shelton’s 6 Pillars of Success
- Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
- Show gratitude
- Keep a sense of urgency
- Guide your team to help create the future
- Walk the talk
- Bonus – Hope is not a strategy