The concept of leadership is fluid and evolves daily, meaning the qualities that molded great leaders in the past may no longer work in today’s world. Furthermore, the topic of leadership continues to garner increased attention as market conditions intensify, unemployment rates decrease and challenges mount.
Being a leader is about more than simply being the boss. It’s about being a visionary, knowing where your company is headed before anyone else does and then convincing the team what needs to be done to get there. Being a leader also requires the ability to drive results and profits through understanding marketplace challenges — all the while innovating the business to keep customers coming back. Finally, being an effective leader is also about providing guidance when needed.
You can’t be successful without having a good team in place. With low unemployment rates, the continued challenge in this industry is how to attract talent. Speak to any operator and they’ll admit it’s getting harder to recruit, train and develop employees. While a burgeoning millennial cohort is ripe for the picking, many of them view the hospitality industry as less than hospitable. It behooves leaders to better understand that mindset and tap into this demographic to fuel success.
Leaders will also need to find meaningful ways to enable women to enter the marketplace more seamlessly and, once in, allow them to move fluidly into management roles — this at a time when, according to the Business Council of British Columbia, there is a “flat-lining of women’s participation in the labour market.” As authors Denise Mullen and Kristine St. Laurent said in an article entitled “Why the Workforce Gender Gap Matters to Business,” “Women today are better educated than at any time in history and yet the participation-rate gap compared to men has been essentially constant for nearly three decades. This is surprising, given that higher education levels normally are associated with greater workforce participation and a steady attachment to the labour market.”
Though women and men enter the job market in almost equal proportions, “there’s a drop-off among women in their prime working years.” Remedying this problem would be one of the keys to future success. A 2017 study by McKinsey Global Institute estimates reducing barriers to women’s work in Canada could produce gross-domestic product gains of $150 billion to $420 billion over 10 years. And as the report says, “A dynamic economy takes full advantage of the available pool of talent and seeks to expand the size of the productive workforce. A decline in the number of labour-force participants — particularly of an increasingly better-educated cohort — acts as a brake on the economy.”