Future Ready Leadership Summit

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 30, 2014, Brantford - It's not your technical skills or expertise that cause people to regard you as a good leader. "It's being a genuine person who cares about the people who work in your organization," said Kelly Isfan, president and CEO of Norfolk General Hospital. Isfan was speaking as a panelist at the second annual Leadership Summit Jan. 30 at the Brantford Civic Centre. The City of Brantford, County of Norfolk, County of Brant and Six Nations partnered with Mohawk College Enterprise (MCE) to help ensure they are ready for the future by determining their leadership capacity and identifying emerging leaders in their organizations. Summit participants also participated in team exercises and discussion. The summit is part of the Future Ready Leadership program, a series of customized leadership training sessions held one day each month, over eight months. This program helps develop emerging leaders and provides; critical thinking skills, insight and behaviours that will equip, prepare and address organizational change management. Isfan was joined on the panel by Keith Robicheau, county manager, Norfolk County, Dr. Max Blouw, president, Wilfrid Laurier University and Dayle W. Bomberry, senior officer (SAO), Six Nations of the Grand River. Early in her career, a mentor told Isfan to follow the ideas of "Show me the love" and "What have you done for me lately." "People want a leader who is willing to listen, build communications and be a genuine person. But they aren't looking for a best friend. They want to see that you are effective and would move mountains for them," Isfan said. In addition to relating their experiences, panelists shared their ideas of what makes a great leader. "Communication with your peers, supervisors and staff is one of the most important skills," Bomberry said. "You can be just barking orders and things might get done. But how does everyone feel?" Dr. Blouw recommended having a strong self awareness. "Leadership takes a lot of energy and commitment," he said. "So it helps to understand yourself well and what you're drawing upon to do the job." Robicheau suggests relying on five values: public service, belief in your employees, innovation, optimum performance and teamwork. He also recommends taking advantage of mentors and participating in professional associations. "Be slow to anger and quick to praise. Praise is much more powerful than constructive criticism," he said. Isfan reminds leaders to keep their sense of humour and ensure everyone in their organization is having fun, at least some of the time. Summit participant Darin Ayers, a County of Brant employee was enthusiastic about the Future Ready Leadership program. "In the beginning of this program, we were a group of people who didn't know each other. We've worked up to having team members and performing a skit in front of everyone here. It was an amazing experience," he said. "We have great instructors and to hear about these panelists' experiences, we can take away so much from it." Robicheau agreed about the value of the program. "We are facing an exodus from our workforce with Baby Boomers retiring. It is important that we make sure the generation of managers behind them are prepared and to foster leadership skills in them. This format is interactive and powerful in helping them build networks and draw on their strengths." For more information, contact djones@mcecor.com