True leadership means involving your employees – asking questions and interacting, according to panelists at a recent leadership forum in Burford.
Employees from County of Brant and Norfolk County who are participating in the Mohawk College Enterprise Future Ready Leadership program had the opportunity to listen to and ask questions of experienced community leaders and hear their views on leadership.
“Leadership is the highest calling you can have,” said panelist Vincent Isber, former regional vice-president of the Greater Hamilton Market, RBC. “Leadership in the past was one dimensional; leaders had all the answers. The best leaders today have the best questions. They engage people at all levels within and outside of their organization.”
Isber, who is now on faculty at Mohawk College’s McKeil School of Business, was joined on the panel by; Kelly Isfan, president and CEO, Norfolk General Hospital; Michael Bradley, general manager of operations and deputy CAO for the County of Brant; and Kathy Weidhaas, manager of human resources, Brant County Health Unit.
Isfan agreed with Isber, saying that “Leadership in its simplest form is the interaction between two people.”
Weidhaas spoke on the importance of trust in a leadership role. “Once you achieve it, it can be maintained but if broken it takes a very long time to get it back,” she said.
Bradley suggested that leaders develop relationships and make the effort to have face to face time with people. “Take things on. Get involved in committees,” he said.
Isber pointed out that leadership requires practise and leaders should always find opportunities to continue learning.
“Combine formal preparation, like the Future Ready Leadership program, with real-life experience, then apply what you learn,” said Isfan.
The forum was part of the Future Ready Leadership program, which consists of eight customized leadership training courses delivered one day per month over eight months. The highly interactive program is developed for emerging and existing leaders with sessions covering topics including working with teams, diversity in the workplace, leadership styles, coaching and managing change.
County of Brant employees have been participating in the Future Ready Leadership program since 2013 and Bradley says the county has seen the benefits.
“It is a great way to motivate junior employees who aspire to leadership positions,” he said. “And to prepare them with the tools to face the challenges of leadership as they go forward.”
Mohawk College Enterprise (MCE) prepares people and companies with the skills and expertise required to succeed in today’s fast-paced world. Through expert trainers, MCE provides training with the latest techniques and technology. Its Future Ready Leadership Program covers topics including the power of teams, coaching communication skills and managing change. For information, visit www.mcecor.com.