How Young Leaders Can Affect Change in the Workplace

Last Updated on April 28, 2021 by Owen McGab Enaohwo

Being a young leader in a company that has older, seasoned workers can be intimidating. The gap in years with older employees, their experience, mindset, and technological know-how can make your job overwhelming.

On today’s show of the Process Breakdown Podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz, the guest speaker, Nicholas Melosi, COO at American Patriot Oil and Gas, discusses being a young leader in a company with seasoned employees.

They also discuss the implementation of newer technologies in the company, getting workers to respect and value each other’s roles in the company, how Nicholas manages to get the seasoned employees to adjust to the newer techniques, how he maintains a respectful relationship with those employees, and how he gets elder workers ready for retirement.

Listen to the audio interview

Subscribe for more business success stories

Listen on Google Podcasts for more SweetProcess customer stories and interviews.
Listen on Apple Podcasts for more SweetProcess customer stories and interviews.

Key Resource List:

Show Notes:

0:05 – Intro

0:26 – Dr. Jeremy Weisz shares the best solution that makes documenting standard operating procedures drop-dead easy, highlighting a 14-day free trial. No credit card required.

2:04 – Dr. Weisz introduces today’s guest, Nicholas Melosi, COO of American Patriot Oil and Gas.

3:06 – Nicholas Melosi talks about American Patriot Oil and Gas, what they do, and how they function.

4:30 – Mr. Melosi tells us about the unsung heroes of the organization, the behind-the-scenes workers who help everything flow better.

8:04 – Mr. Melosi talks about the things he’s doing when he’s out at the worksites, from managing the rig to managing extra costs.

10:33 – The guest speaker shares how he has learned to work better with older employees.

12:53 – The guest talks about how he implements newer technology and gets the team to accept, adapt, and move forward with the change/upgrade.

16:27 – Mr. Melosi talks more about how he implements new technology despite pushback.

19:21 – The guest explains what it’s like working with more experienced employees, how they approach him, and how he converses with them.

24:37 – The guest speaker talks about what he’s learned about leadership, and how he applied what he learned.

25:18 – Mr. Melosi shares some books/resources he’s looked at that have impacted him as a leader.

27:01 – Outro

Guest Profile:

Nicholas Melosi of American Patriot Oil & Gas

Nicholas Melosi, COO of American Patriot Oil and Gas, is a proven oil finder and operator. He’s been working as COO at American Patriot for the past four years.

Mr. Melosi got his bachelor’s degree in geology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. He’s highly skilled in areas like geological mapping, formation evaluation, logging, stratigraphy, and much more.

Transcript of the interview

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Process Breakdown podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks, and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now let’s get started with the show.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, host of the Process Breakdown podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their job. Check out past episodes.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Nicholas, I always tell people, check out past episodes. We have some amazing episodes. There’s past guest include David Allen of Getting Things Done, Michael Gerber of the E-Myth and many more. And before I introduce today’s great guest, this is a topic I am excited to talk about. Okay. And I think everyone else will be excited to talk about it too. It’s going to be relevant for all of us. And before I do this, this episode is brought to you by SweetProcess. So Nicholas, you could probably not relate to this. Kidding. Have you had team members ask you the same things over and over again?

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And maybe it’s the 10th time you’ve been explaining it. Well, there is actually a better way. SweetProcess is a software that makes it drop that easy to train and onboard new staff and save time with existing staff. And when I was talking one of the founders, Owen, not only do universities, banks, hospitals, and software companies use them, but first responder government agencies use them in life or death situations to run their operations. So you can use SweetProcess to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time, so you can focus on growing your team and empowering them. You would sign up for a free 14-day trial. No credit card is required. Go to It’s sweet like candy, Everyone I talked to Nicholas are like, "Yeah, I just want to be systemized. I want to have a streamlined approach."

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And so they love it. Today’s guest, Nicholas Melosi is the COO of American Patriot Oil and Gas. Nicholas, thanks for joining me.

Nicholas Melosi: Thanks for having me, and I appreciate it.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: If you’re not watching the video, he is sporting an amazing Texas hat.

Nicholas Melosi: I am.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So tell us a little bit about…. And by the way, what we’re going to talk about today is if you’re a younger leader, we’ve heard the term millennial or gen X, just younger leader. How do you best lead if you have more mature individuals, older individuals reporting you? And on the flip side, whatever you define older is. On the flip side, if you’re an experienced older generation and you’re reporting to a younger leader, boss, how do you navigate that? I think this is important. Even if you go back into the ’80s, ’70s, ’60s, it’s always going to hold true, right? There’s always going to be that young up-and-coming person that is going to be leading an older generation vice versa. So first of all, tell us a little bit about American Patriot Oil and Gas, and what you guys do.

Nicholas Melosi: We are oil and gas operators. We’ve operated approximately 75 wells in Texas, and we have non acquisition in Mississippi and Louisiana where we just back in percentage of the well, and our goal is to operate these wells and then increase our value to our shareholders. Our biggest job is just daily operations. I mean, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to keep these wells running. We’re always fixing things. We’re always communicating. We have a solid back office in order, and it’s just a really big team effort. I think we probably have 30 to 50 people on our team on a daily and monthly basis. It’s a challenge but it’s fun.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Let’s talk about, you mentioned that there’s a lot of operations and behind the scenes that goes into running these things, who would you say or positions? You don’t have to name individuals, but may positions like the unsung heroes of American Patriot Oil and Gas. It’s like Tom Brady wins MVP or something and you never see an offensive line winning MVP of the Super Bowl, right?

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Who are some of the unsung heroes behind the scenes? Not necessarily names, but positions that really kind of the glue that makes sure everything operates smoothly.

Nicholas Melosi: I mean, this is a piece that we’ve been working on bringing together the back office and the field teams, right? Because the back office doesn’t really understand what goes into watching these wells every day. We have guys that go around these wells every single day, rain or shine. You don’t want to do it every day, but it’s just a necessary evil to make sure nothing goes wrong and to make sure we sell our products and produce our product to sell it.

Nicholas Melosi: And then our field guys don’t really have an idea what goes into the paperwork, compliance with regulatory, accounting, insurance. And what we’re trying to do is we’ll have a team meeting every day and just introduce everybody like, "Guys, this is what it takes in the back office to make sure that we’re able to sell our product and guys in the field, this is what it takes to produce our products." Everyone is just such an integral part of the team to make us operate. Without one person, if it rolls up, it throws a huge wrench in. So, just trying to keep good guys just happy and moving forward and doing good work is the key.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I think it’s a key point because when everyone knows everyone’s job, you can have a mutual respect there. Whereas if they don’t, then people just make assumptions.

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I can make up a bunch of assumptions in my head without knowing your business as well as like, "Well, if I was one of the back office people, I’m like, what are they just sitting with the lawn chair, just watching the well. What are they actually doing?" Or then those people are like, "Well, if someone just at the computer surfing the internet, what are they doing?" I’m not saying that’s what people say, but I can make up these stories in my head just from hearing you describe that job.

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. When I started, I felt I had to do every job just so I understood how it’d work, what was entailed with it? And then I felt I can help manage that process a little bit better and help them communicate. But that’s exactly right. If you’re sitting somewhere thinking about something else, you really have no idea what it takes to get it done and everybody that works for us is extremely hardworking and extremely competent and honest people. So, I feel one of the biggest things that we’ve been able to do is just create a solid culture of just work ethic and honesty, I guess.

Nicholas Melosi: It’s a big thing communication and just making sure that if something does happen because it’s going to happen, right? That’s just life that we just bring it to the table. It’s okay, let’s put our heads together, let’s fix it. I was talking to a guy from Chevron and he’s like, "That’s our main goal is to just figure out how to not let problems happen again." That’s the only way we grow is we’re all going to make mistakes, but just make sure we don’t let them happen again.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. I want to talk at the leading piece in a second, but last time we were talking, you were on the road and I’m wondering, when you’re on the road and you’re going to basically make sure everything’s running smoothly. What are you going? What are you checking for? What are you doing when you go out to the sites?

Nicholas Melosi: It just depends, but mostly bigger projects, we’ll have a rig that comes on. I like to be there just because it’s a tremendous capital spend and those prices can add up quickly. We’ve got to get a bulldozer for two days, then that’s an extra costs and there’s an extra… And sometimes you just need to understand everything that’s going on downhill. We have scale on the well. We need to notate that in these reports, so we can talk to our chemical guy and say, "Hey, this is our problem right now, what kind of adjustments we do to our chemicals to make it better?"

Nicholas Melosi: And we’re in the phase where we are a big enough company to hire three full-time employees to oversee all this and these different areas. But we’re still on that teetering point to where we can’t manage it yet. So I do a lot of management on that end, as far as just going down and checking things and a lot of communication with the guys and just try to keep the momentum forward and just positive attitudes and let everybody know that they’re doing a good job. But then also, correct and figure out what can we do better?

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. I mean, I could see that being a positive because if you have someone at certain positions just overseeing the process, that’s an advantage to some of these companies, because you’re in there rolling up your sleeves and actually making sure everything is running smoothly. And that’s a good point with any company, I think, with an onboarding process and making sure, especially because what you said was, especially when you’re doing something new, making sure the onboarding process is overseeing. Because that’s usually when stuff tends to happen, as opposed to it’s running smoothly. So making sure that goes smoothly, that the clients are happy, or at least you have a quick solution. You have someone who can make decisions.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Back to the leadership piece for a second. When we are chatting about what would be interesting to talk about, I thought it’d be interesting to talk about having a younger leader and how do you best lead if you have maybe someone’s been in the industry for 30 or 40 years, and they’re saying, "Nicholas, my underpants are older than you." Okay. How do you navigate that? What are some things you do to navigate that? I love to hear.

Nicholas Melosi: One of the things that I found is that you obviously have to show respect, right? You respect their experience and you respect what they’ve done and what they’ve accomplished to get to where they are. But on the flip side of that, there’s also, there’s new technologies and there’s new processes that I’ve learned from working on different operations around the country. So it’s like, I’ll bring certain ideas to the table. Let’s try them out along with your ideas, let’s see what works the best. I don’t want to be a stagnant company. I don’t want to just continue to do the same thing over and over just because that’s what we do. That’s the reason that I think one of the reasons I think we’ve been successful and we’ve been able to overcome some of these odds, like the Coronavirus in 2020, I mean, it was a battle all year. So, but everybody just putting their heads together and working as a unit and trying things and see what does work. It’s a difficult process.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I could see that, Nicholas, listen, you’ve seen across, different industries or the same industry, and you are thinking in how do this technology solve the issue? And there’s lots of new technologies coming up every single year. So even if someone’s paying attention to it, it’s hard to keep up with it. And especially people that aren’t paying attention, they’re not going to discover some of the technologies that are on the forefront or that people are starting to adopt and sometimes being the early adopters technologies. But I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a second and I’ll say, "Okay, you bring a really good technology idea to the table that can really help solve a problem." But the other side as well, "Nicholas, we’ve been doing it this way for 15 years and it’s working," right? I don’t know if you’ve heard that before.

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: But I could see someone and be like, "Listen, it’s working, why change?" How do you navigate that and overcome that obstacle? Yeah, this is a true statement, but what do you say to that?

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah, that’s been our motto is, I completely understand that this has worked in a way for the past 15 years, but I’d like to suggest that we try it this way, this one time, and let’s just analyze the data, analyze the results and see if we have anything different. Because in this business, it’s all about data. The more information you know about your wells and your wellbore setups, the better you are. But to get back to your question, I think it’s a dance, some people are more stubborn than others. But at the end of the day, this is just how we do things is that we have to adapt and progress and we might fail on trying things out, but I’m sure as long as we learned something from it, we’ve moved in the right direction.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah, no, listen. I think in general, as human beings, we don’t love change. Okay?

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah, no.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Even people who like technology, it’s a tough thing to want to implement a new technology. So someone whose maybe not loving technology, that’s like a whole separate ball game, but I like what you said is how do you link it to something objective? So like let’s try it and then let’s analyze the data. So it’s not an opinion at that point. It’s like, did this produce a better outcome result or did not, right?

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah, I mean, that’s the name of the game is just increasing production. And then, talking about software, implementing software, we got this software GreaseBooks about two years ago and that was a chore to get it in because we have several different fields and everybody’s just sending these Excel sheets and then we have to go through these Excel, compile them and put together our report. It’s like, there’s got to be a better way to do this. So we found GreaseBooks and we can import it at a field level to where our daily pumpers will go around. They’ll track it there and they’ll put sales tickets and we’ll get a handle on accounting that way too. There was pushback from some areas, but at the end of the day, I think that everyone realized that it helped help everyone.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. I mean, that’s similar to what I mentioned in the beginning of SweetProcess, like people are using Excel sheets or post-it notes who knows what they’re using. There’s a better way.

Nicholas Melosi: [inaudible 00:15:40] going to get hooked up a SweetProcess for all the guys that we have and I’m sure there’s something in there that you can have current guys fill out their daily jobs for the handover is seamless on the next one.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Exactly. Yes, they have those features in there. I love what you said about the implementation. So you’re like, "Cool, GreaseBooks, this is going to solve a lot of our problems. It’s going to streamline things." How do you go about implementation across the company? What have you found works? Because like you said, there’s going to be pushback, certain departments. Because if everyone’s not using it, it’s not helpful, right?

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: How do you go about implementing a solution like that across the company?

Nicholas Melosi: It took us to approach it from different angles and some of it was small steps. All right. Just this one well, just use it on this one well for 90 days and lets re-evaluate how it went and another one was just like, when we got a new pumper in an area, just like, this is just what we do. If it doesn’t work for you, I’m sorry, but this is just a job requirement. So we’ve gone along the spectrum of it. We’ve tried to work with folks that have been with us for a long time and say, "I get it, it’s change. It’s going to create more work for you right now, but I guarantee you in six months, you’re going to see the value of it. It’s going to be this hurdle to go over, but you will see value in it."

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. The two things I’m hearing from you is the objective data. It’s easier with the new people. You’re like, "This is how we do it, we have the data, this is going to make it easier, faster, better, whatever it is." But the people have been used to a certain way, that’s a little bit tougher. And what I’m hearing you say is you need to implement these small, very bite size goals, small steps, so that they can just try it because usually when they try it and they see the results, it’s easier, better, faster, even though there’s maybe that initial learning curve, people see that objective data. Is that right?

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Because what they were doing, they would go around and have a notepad and they would just write it down on the notepad every day and they would bring it home, and then they would comparable report at home and then they would send it in and I’m like, "Whoa, why not just when you’re there, you got already an iPad just put it in right there, put your notes into the day. If there’s any sales tickets, put them in there and then you’re done, then at the end of the day, you don’t have to mess with ever again."

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. It’s something that will save them time in the long run and we’re so used to doing it the same way. And it’s like, they’ll thank you later for it. It’s like, "Oh, I don’t have that extra work after I leave. That’s great."

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So we talked about the younger leader, how do you best lead the other individuals reporting you, show respect, but also, convey some of the unique skill sets that you have? And on the other side of the equation, if someone’s an experience, I don’t know, I’m curious feedback you’ve gotten from other people reporting to you, how do they best navigate working with you? I don’t know what people have said, or you can see people take approaches.

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah, I’m curios too.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What’s that?

Nicholas Melosi: I’m curious what they’ve said too.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What approaches do they take that you find work with you. Like when they approach me this way, or I don’t know, set XYZ that really helps you be a better leader?

Nicholas Melosi: I can be an extremely stubborn person and set in my own ways and that’s one of the things we’ve talked about is just creative ideas are going to help us grow. If you guys have suggestions on anything, let’s talk about it, let’s figure it out, let’s put it into our daily meeting, but I don’t know what guys say. We have a such spectrum of employees, we have accountants, engineers, lawyers, field guys, we have techs. We have just well wide range and everyone thinks differently and everyone manages differently or thinks about me differently. Right?

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah.

Nicholas Melosi: I don’t think that they see the spectrum of work that I have to do to keep things going in the right direction. And you don’t want to tell people that, right? You don’t want to say, this is what it takes.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Well, it goes to what you were saying with the other piece in the beginning, when we’re talking about the field staff and the back office staff, when you have a little bit of an understanding of what people’s jobs are, because you kind of….

Nicholas Melosi: You can relate.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. Well, at least appreciate some of the stuff they do, which you don’t realize on a day-to-day basis. It sounds like, you’ve done a different pieces of the positions, so you understand, and you have this mutual understanding and respect because you’ve done some of it, right?

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah. Like the accountant, you know what I mean? It’s just tedious work that takes time and I think he gets frustrated with me sometimes that I’ll push him. Maybe I push him too hard to get things done or get reports done and he’ll let me know when he’s frustrated and I’m like, "Okay, I need to give him some breathing room, maybe he needs a vacation." I like him as an employee and as a person. I’m like, "I want you to stick around, I appreciate your feedback on it. I’ll work on my end to not push so hard."

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. I think that’s a good point too, is everyone has different pressures and it’s coming sometimes from a place of, there’s different pieces pulling us in different positions. So it’s not a personal thing. It’s just, here’s the pressure I’m experiencing in my portion and everyone’s portions overlap at some point.

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah, for sure.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So I’m also seeing, hearing an awareness for when you can push and when you should just back off and let people just do their work.

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah. It’s difficult, right? To find that balance, to define that line of what encouragement and what leadership is and what it’s just overwhelming and that’s probably my biggest concern on how to lead the best. If I push the field guys too hard, they’ll get mad at me and make it known. And I’m like, okay, so then I’ll have to go down there and we’re like, no, you’re right. I see the problem. I see why it’s taken so long. And then just communication over the phone, which doesn’t work.

Nicholas Melosi: But we have our FaceTime works really well now that they could show me, "Okay, there’s a low spot here, we can’t get a truck. We can only get a truck 300 feet from here, so we can roll out a hose and we’re only able to pull out a 10th of the volume that we normally could be." So until you see that, until you know that, then it’s like what’s going on out here? We’re spending this much a day, we got to get, but then you go down there and you see it like, "Oh, you guys are right, my fault. Thanks for the hard work."

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. It seems like the key thing is with any of this, with them, someone who’s reporting to a boss or a boss helping lead a team is just understanding where everyone’s coming from first. And when you do that, that helps because you may like, "Hey, why aren’t we getting this done?" And once you understand the situation, it seems it’s obvious. But our first inclination sometimes is just for the results based, sometimes it’s results. And there’s things that get in the way of that. Nicholas, this has been really helpful. I appreciate you walking me through some of these scenarios, because I think for any company, whether you are the experienced person with 30 years and having a younger generation person come in or vice versa, it’s a really important conversation and at least jars many thoughts on my end. But is there anything else that we didn’t talk about that would be important to say in this conversation when we’re talking about leaders younger versus more experienced older generation?

Nicholas Melosi: I don’t know. Leadership is a difficult thing, right? At least with anyone and I’m open to learn, if you know anything else, let me know. Like better ways to do it, I’m definitely interested in checking out SweetProcess too, so we can help with our onboarding and moving people around and I’m always just looking for better ways to do things.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. Are there any particular books or resources that you have found from either COO or leadership or anything that you’ve looked at over the years that have impacted you as a leader?

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah. I like listening to biographies from great men, like Churchill and some guys, but it’s just Ben Franklin and just to see how they did things with their lives and just try to figure out how I can do that in my life or ever there’re similarities. And yeah, that’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve done that I’ve tried to do is just learn from other people, I think.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. I love that suggestion, Nicholas, because you go to autobiography for $20, you can learn from all of their mistakes. You can learn from all of the things they did right for really inexpensive. So I love that suggestion. You mentioned Ben Franklin, checkout Winston Churchill, Steve Jobs biography sticks out as a really good one. So as many out there check out some of those.

Nicholas Melosi: The Nike CEO.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah, Shoe Dog?

Nicholas Melosi: Shoe Dog.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah, that was a remarkable one also.

Nicholas Melosi: Yeah, you shouldn’t forget Ray Dalio from the investment firm…

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Principles, I think it was called, yes, something like that.

Nicholas Melosi: Principles, yeah. I read Elon. Elon, he’s a madness, but yeah, I mean, he’s just such great characteristics and just try to learn like that.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah, check out that. Check our SweetProcess, check out other episodes of the podcast Process Breakdown, and we’ll see you on the other side. Thanks everyone. Thanks, Nick.

Nicholas Melosi: Thanks a lot. It’s good talking to you.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Process Breakdown podcast. Before you go, quick question. Do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures, and/or policies for your company so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free 14-day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up, go to, sweet like candy and process like Go now to and sign up for your risk-free 14-day trial.

Owen: Hi, this is Owen, the CEO, and co-founder here at SweetProcess. If you’ve enjoyed listening to this podcast interview, actually, you know what I want you to do? Go ahead and leave us a five star review on iTunes. That way we get more people aware of the good stuff that you get here on this podcast. Again, go on to iTunes and leave us a five star review. Looking forward to reading your review. Have a good day.

Get Your Free Systemization Checklist

Systemize Checklist
5 Essential Steps To Getting a Task Out of Your Head and Into a System So You Can Scale and Grow Your Business!
Stop being the bottleneck in your company

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *