Ed Seegmiller learned an important lesson from a very bad boss. “Employees lost the ability to think and did everything to please the boss. He beat up their self-esteem. I learned how not to treat people. I learned to allow people to make mistakes and to value their input,” said the president and CEO of Mott Manufacturing, the second largest manufacturer of laboratory furniture, work stations and fume hoods in North America. Seegmiller was speaking as a panelist at a leadership forum earlier this month at the Burford Community Centre. A partnership between the County of Brant and Mohawk College Enterprise (MCE), the forum was part of the Future Ready Leadership program. Run by MCE, Future Ready Leadership is a series of customized leadership training sessions held one day each month, over eight months. Employees from the County of Brant and Norfolk County are participating in this program, which helps develop emerging leaders and provides critical thinking skills, valuable insight and behaviours that will equip, prepare and address organizational change. Seegmiller was joined on the panel by Kelly Isfan, CEO of Norfolk General Hospital and West Haldimand Memorial Hospital; and Audie McCarthy, president and CEO of Mohawk College Enterprise and an expert in curriculum design, development and facilitation. To influence your employees, Isfan says they need to know they have a role. “People like to be included in problem solving. The trick is not to tell people how to solve the problem before they figure it out themselves,” Isfan said. “Coaching your team members is important for success.” McCarthy believes that while some people are more naturally suited for it, others can learn to be a great leader. She says some of the traits that make a successful leader include integrity, honesty, authenticity, excellent communication skills and humility. All panelists agree that training is important to develop future leaders. Isfan asked her hospital foundation to fund training and development and Seegmiller holds training every six months. Because employees are usually promoted because they are good at their job, McCarthy says they need leadership training in soft skills like leading through change, managing a diverse workforce and coaching. Mohawk College Enterprise 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 mcecor.com or contact Dianne Jones at 416-988-2053 or firstname.lastname@example.org.