"I believe as a leader, I’m in the service of others."
Since he began his energy career in the late 1990s, Tim Conroy has become a world-class technical expert. Beginning with a first-class honours degree in marine geology, he’s become an accomplished expert in rock physics, has worked across the world on billion-dollar projects, and is now head of Woodside’s Australian green hydrogen portfolio.
But while technical expertise is important, in a leadership position what really matters is people.
“I believe as a leader, I’m in the service of others,” Tim said.
“When I take on a role, my immediate priority is to look after the people and provide clarity and vision. If you provide enough clarity, support and build people up, then the team can deliver super effectively, without the bottle neck of a traditional hierarchical manager.”
This strategy means he has space to focus on the big picture.
“A good geoscientist knows rocks from the micron scale to the 100-kilometre scale.”
“You need to be able to alternate between both scales of distance and time. That can only be done with an empowered team.”
Tim is an advocate of the value of mentors. From his father who operates a 100-year-old family business, to the lecturer who encouraged him to study geology and eventually became his honours supervisor, and many others throughout his career, Tim has always seen value in mentors.
“I have always had a ‘mentor sandwich’ – a mentor above and a mentee below. That means that you reinforce what your mentor teaches you by teaching it to the mentee below you.”
“I usually run three to five mentees at any one time, in an informal capacity. We might just walk the block and I’ll listen to their issues. My job isn’t to solve their problems, but just to listen and help unpack the problem until we find where they are stuck. From there, commonly they will be able to solve the problem themselves.”
“Showing curiosity is important because people bring their whole selves to work. That entails health, financial, family issues – all manner of things. To be a good leader you need to understand and accept people as well as building them up to be their best.”
“When your team is operating at their best, that’s when you can create value by looking at the 50,000-foot view. That’s how you ask yourself ‘what’s going to happen in the next 5 or 10 years and what can we do to prepare for that?’.”
Tim is a graduate of the 2020 Signature Leadership Program.
“The Signature Leadership Program has opened up my vantage point and showed me how other leaders from across WA tackle different sorts of challenges. As I work on changing the world’s energy mix I draw on the insights that I have gained from the Signature Leadership Program 2020 cohort.”