As organizations get flat and information goes viral, the era of command-and-control leadership is officially over. Every worker needs to be empowered to take the reins – but are local companies prepared to make that happen?
…One organization that would openly discuss its leadership-training program is Kryton International Inc. The Vancouver based company specializes in products that waterproof, repair and protect concrete structures, and was selected by BC Business in 2010 as one of the province’s best companies to work for. CEO Kari Yuers began on the shop floor of the company launched by her father in 1973, earning her proverbial stripes as a young, visibly ethnic female salesperson in the white, patriarchal construction industry. She says that over the years she’s learned from both good and bad managers and believes strongly that with the right coaching and training, leaders can emerge from unlikely individuals.
“My style of leadership is collaborative. I have to be decisive but also surround myself with people who build a culture of respect and trust,” says the 42-year-old executive.
To this end Kryton spends approximately $100,000 annually on employee training courses and peer-to-peer counselling. Recently Kryton’s vice-president attended the Accelerated Leadership Program through UBC’s Sauder School of Business. At $23,000, it’s not cheap, but Yuers believes it’s worth the investment. As for her own ongoing personal development, she meets monthly with The Executive Committee Canada group, and she calls it a “field day” for swapping and sharing leadership strategies and ideas. For confirmation that investing in employee and leadership training pays off, all Yuers has to do is look at Kryton’s balance sheet: she says the family-owned company, with a workforce of 40, has seen its sales grow tenfold over the past decade and it’s the people who’ve made this growth possible. “You have to lead by example and that’s been the core of what I try to do,” Yuers says.
One of the axioms Yuers likes to repeat is that “people quit supervisors; they don’t quit companies.” It’s a sentiment echoed by executives at some of B.C’s biggest employers, including Telus and ICBC. …