Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

Labour shortages remain the persistent challenge for both the corporate sector as well as small business owners who insist the lack of skilled and unskilled workers is the biggest impediment to increasing sales.

 

These shortages are expected to get worse as baby boomers retire, despite the fact the participation rate in the labour market appears to be higher. According to an analysis piece last month in the Globe & Mail, as of February, that participation rate – the proportion of the population 15 or older that is working or looking for a job – was 65.7% which is the same as it was in April 2018.

 

But when it comes to finding people to take on leadership roles, the outlook is much more positive, says leadership coach and expert Julie Dupont, Principal Strategist and Owner of Cambridge-based Reimagine Leadership.

 

“Filling leadership roles hasn’t been a struggle as much as trying to fill the technical or skilled talent roles,” she said. “People are usually happy to step up into a higher pay cheque.”

 

However, with that promotion also comes immense responsibilities which Julie says not all people are able to handle.


“Being a leader requires a different set of skills and mindset,” she says, noting some organizations often struggle to get the right people to fill the right roles. “And when they have them, there’s always this fear they are going to leave.”

 

To mitigate that fear, Julie says personal development is imperative and investing in leadership training will benefit the organization.

 

“You want to spend the money where it counts and that is on your people right now because they need to see there is a future for them,” she says.  “Leadership skills are an investment in long-term success. If an organization makes you feel unvalued, it hurts.”

 

Among the most important skills are the ones centred around emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

 

“These skills are so crucial right now because people need to understand themselves and discover what their triggers are and if they’re going to be resilient,” says Julie. “They need to be able to figure out if what they do works, or if what they do gets in the way of them being successful.”

 

She says an employee can be great at the technical side of their job, but as a leader may not be much of a ‘people person’ and will struggle.

 

“It’s about creating that employee-centred approach and is about valuing each and every person in your care,” says Julie, noting that mindset shift can be very difficult for many people but that times are changing. “We are moving slowly in that direction but it’s a big ship and doesn’t turn on a dime.”

 

In terms of making that change, she says identifying your strengths as a leader is key and reiterates the value of training to create a foundation to help leaders succeed.

 

“When people feel a little more positive in their abilities, they’re likely to give themselves the grace of making better decisions,” says Julie.

 

Five skills to developing good leaders:

 

  • Communication: Great leaders must be great communicators. We need people who can learn when to listen, ask the right questions, and speak words of encouragement and motivation to their staff. These skills can be taught.
  • Accountability: Not only do we need to keep emerging leaders accountable we also need to teach them how to hold their team members accountable. Many emerging leaders have never been taught the skills necessary to manage staff and earn their respect.
  • Time management: Moving people up in our organizations without giving them the skills to manage all the projects, paper and people in a timely manner will lead to burnout or, worse, a broken home life.
  • Servitude: Great leaders serve their people by removing roadblocks to their staff’s success. We need to teach our leaders strategies to empower their people by supporting their efforts.
  • Mentorship: Great leaders mentor and coach their team members so they can be successful. This isn’t a skill that comes naturally for many people. It needs to be taught.

 

•    Source Troy Media

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