No limits: Why diversity in leadership can benefit the oil and gas services industry

By Carissa Skorczewski, GROEBNER

GROEBNER is committed to providing the best in products and services to natural gas utilities and their contractors
GROEBNER is committed to providing the best in products and services to natural gas utilities and their contractors (photo: GROEBNER)

Things are looking up for female business leaders across Corporate America, and the entire US workforce is the chief beneficiary.

As industries become more competitive amid a shakily rebounding macroeconomy, diversity of thought and perspective at the top of the corporate ladder is growing in importance. New challenges from inflation and globalisation to automation and supply chain woes need to be met with new solutions – often the kind of ideas and innovation that stem from a leadership team comprised of different life experiences, whether it’s a difference of gender, race, identity, or socioeconomic background.

The oil and gas services sector, particularly, has needed a fresh perspective for many years, but it recently has made great strides. Today, the female perspective is not only necessary, but also encouraged in a field that was once male-dominated.

A new and inclusive approach is required to not only stay relevant but advance in a competitive market. The number of women in leadership roles is growing every day, and in many industries, it’s become commonplace. Even those who were initially slow to accept change have since warmed up to the idea of having the make-up of the C-Suite reflect that of the workforce. This includes critical areas of the economy like the supply chain where female leaders are being accepted at a rate that would have been surprising only ten years ago.

There is still room for improvement, though, according to workplace diversity research, which recently found that, “3.6 percent of individuals leading America’s Fortune 500 companies are women.”

According to a study by McKinsey and Co, gender equity is crucial for organisations and businesses to perform at the highest levels. The study found, “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability.” Additionally, having women in decision-making roles has been found to help the company better serve their female clients and consumers.

Better opportunities for creativity and problem-solving are just a few benefits of diversity in the workplace. Female leadership, specifically, brings a point of view that is sorely lacking in many industries. Despite the false stigmas that have spread, women are likely to improve corporate culture and boost efficiencies while maintaining quality. Consider the following takeaways:

GROEBNER specialises in selling, stocking, and advising on natural gas products from the pipeline to the meter
GROEBNER specialises in selling, stocking, and advising on natural gas products from the pipeline to the meter (photo: GROEBNER)

Challenge your team to go outside of their comfort zone
Putting those who’ve enjoyed majority status into a scenario where they’re suddenly a minority can be very enlightening and empowering for many people. Consider enrolling your team in industry conferences, staff training opportunities, DEI programs, and other learning opportunities that demonstrate what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. Also, create an open-door policy for employees to share new ideas, encourage learning new skills and networking together, and challenge yourself as a leader if you want others to follow your example.

Learn from the person sitting next to you
Learn the job from everyone else. A “prescribed” job won’t help you learn – there is no better way to lead a company than by observing and learning from people in several different positions at the company, especially if they’ve been there longer than you have.

Develop a culture of mutual respect
Create a workplace in which behaviour is professional, collaborative, and involves clear communication. Keep in mind that often, what you’re noticing is a generational gap more than a gender gap. Recognise and celebrate success: show your employees that you value them and appreciate their efforts. Communicate respectfully and treat everyone with kindness and respect, listening to and valuing their opinions and encouraging them to express their ideas.

Create an environment where people feel included
Make it your mission to make sure no person, man, or woman, feels side-lined at their company. When a manager values the mental and physical health of the team at the core, it is evident. Make sure your employees are engrained in the culture, and ask, “are they happy?” It’s a perspective and empathy that women, specifically, can bring to the table. When employees know their superior cares, other managers do the same and it trickles down and becomes the overall culture.

Carissa Skorczewski, President & CEO of GROEBNERAs 3rd Generation President and CEO of her family business, GROEBNER, Carissa Skorczewski carries the mantle her grandfather built 46 years ago. Her work at GROEBNER is ultimately transforming the energy sector. Specifically, she is modernising many critical systems and policies within the organisation as it thrives and scales into a national brand. Carissa is passionate about creating a positive work environment where employees are excited to come to work, developing a business where customers and vendors feel like family, and making a difference in the everchanging natural gas industry.
GROEBNER is a manufacturers’ representative and distribution company that partners with natural gas utilities and contractors to source and supply equipment, provide strategic counsel and enhance success. For more than 45 years, the now third-generation company has prided itself on steadfast delivery for customers and vendors. GROEBNER is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women.