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The Driving Force Behind Catalyst Leadership

The Driving Force Behind Catalyst Leadership

By: Thomas D. Kuglin Jr., Battalion Fire Chief



            Being new to the private, industrial sector world it can be overwhelming and challenging.  In the nearly six months here so far I am learning every day about the refinery’s processes, what makes them work and all the intricacies associated with them.  While I am just merely a beginner to the refining world one thing I have come to learn rather quickly is the need for a catalyst.  The catalyst required in a process unit is the driving force behind transforming one product into a more usable, valuable one.  Without the catalyst present there is no reaction to be taken place therefore remaining in a less desirable state.  Let’s examine this in relation to leadership.  A person may have the desire to become a better leader or may have the traits to become a leader.  However, they may not have the vehicle to propel them to that level.  In this phase the person corresponds to the product that desires to become more usable and valuable.  The catalyst corresponds with one who leads others to achieve a goal that without it they don’t have the means to do so.  Once the catalyst is introduced to the product the result is a more usable and valuable one.  So how does the catalyst become the driving force behind change?  For example, platinum is used as a catalyst to transform one product into a more usable and valuable one.  In catalyst leadership, the platinum is the person who inspires, motivates, empowers and influences others to become a leader and provide the value of being the driving force behind change.  A catalyst takes a vested interest in others in various forms like coaching or mentoring.  A catalyst leader has the ability to transform a person’s vision into reality.  This simply can be done by having the intangibles that come from heart, passion and conviction.  Believe it or not all of those can be contagious and inspire others to be the best they can be, set and achieve goals and help take them to places they never thought they could.  Similarly, there will always be challenges and obstacles along the way.  The key is to battle through adversity, make mid-course corrections around the obstacles and stay laser focused on your goals.  A lot of times this cannot happen without a catalyst to push you towards constant personal development.  We all have at one time or another been in positions in life where we needed that catalyst to take us beyond our comfort zone.  One of the pillars of leadership is seeking opportunities and satisfaction in transforming the lives of others.  Remember, true leadership lies at the core within ourselves and being a catalyst to facilitate change.


“The task of the leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been”

  • Henry Kissinger

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