CDI Corporation

Does Your Company Have Leaders or Bosses?

Are leaders born or made? It’s an interesting question that produces a plethora of answers. But here’s something that isn’t up for debate: People are naturally attracted to leaders.

Leaders possess capabilities that can inspire others to become their best, something that business owners eagerly seek in the people they hire and the individuals they currently employ. When you recognize leadership qualities in your blended workforce, you can’t afford to let them get away. As a result, companies are always looking to identify leadership skills within potential hires to ensure they have a strong base of leaders that can drive the organization forward. These skills, which are important in both permanent and contract employees, include the ability to motivate others and drive innovation with a sense of integrity, transparency and diplomacy.

A great way to gain insight on whether someone is more of a boss or a leader is to do your homework during the hiring process. For example, if you’re interviewing an applicant for a contract management position, asking them a few questions about how they led previous projects or initiatives will tell you a lot about their leadership style.

Additionally calling one or two of the candidate’s references can give you an idea of whether the person was highly regarded for their leadership capabilities and how these strengths – or lack of them – affected the success of their projects. The length of their relationship and whether their contract was renewed can also provide insight.

“Candidates who exhibit strong leadership qualities in the interview process often have the capability to motivate others to succeed and to develop their own ability to become leaders,” said John Lewis, managing director, recruiting for CDI Corporation.

For the most part, employees think rather highly of their managers. In fact a 2016 poll conducted by CareerBuilder, found nearly two-thirds of respondents gave their bosses an "A" or "B." However, in those instances where bosses received an average or failing grade, it frequently led to employee losses. Almost 40 percent of respondents in the poll said they’d left at least one job due to the management style of their bosses.

In short, as noted in a report by the Society for Human Resource Management, dissatisfied workers don’t leave their jobs – they leave their bosses.

How do you ensure you have leaders who inspire instead of bosses who discourage? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Leaders avoid micromanaging and consider others their equals

As discussed in The Muse, even though managers may be authority figures, they shouldn’t see themselves as "better than" the workers who are in their charge. The best managers view their relationship as more of a partnership, rather than a one-way street where the manager directs and workers perform. Additionally, leaders give their staff autonomy, adopting a more "hands-off" approach to management. In the 2016 CareerBuilder survey, respondents who gave their managers a high letter grade were more likely to work for leaders who they didn’t consider to be a micromanager.

2. Leaders take a genuine interest in their team members

Employees have lives beyond the office, spending their time with family members, friends, projects at home or activities within their community. Leaders aim to get to know their team on an individual basis, forming a more personal relationship while at the same time learning about qualities that can contribute to the growth of the business, like expertise that isn’t currently be utilized, or traits such as patience or perseverance that would lend themselves well on a special project. Getting to know someone as an individual fosters trust and encourages them to give it their all.

3. Leaders prioritize relationships and results

Managers in leadership positions are responsible for ensuring work is completed effectively so growth never ceases. Overbearing bosses may still be able to achieve solid results, but it may produce diminishing returns if employees are at their wits’ end and ultimately decide to leave in search of greener pastures. Leaders recognize the value of developing productive relationships with both their permanent and contingent employees. They prioritize finding solutions to issues that may be troubling workers and ultimately impeding their work output. Leaders also put greater emphasis on results that are achieved through demanding yet reasonable processes rather than processes that are tedious and unnecessarily taxing.

“Good leaders are able to adapt to varying demands and challenges facing the organization,” said Lewis. “Encouraging strong leadership and allowing it to take the organization to greater heights is often the distinguishing factor between mediocre companies and those that dominate their marketplace.”

Recent CDI Analysis

“Encouraging strong leadership and allowing it to take the organization to greater heights is often the distinguishing factor between mediocre companies and those that dominate their marketplace.”

John Lewis
Managing Director of Recruiting
CDI Corporation

Employment Situation (U.S.)

Although the unemployment rate rose from May to June – coming in at 4 percent after May’s remarkably low figure of 3.8 percent – many are attributing this to growth in the labor force participation rate, which most recently jumped 0.2 percent to reach 62.9 percent. This indicates an uptick in jobless individuals actively seeking work, particularly among prime-age workers (Americans between the ages of 25 and 54). Brookings Institution senior fellow Gary Burtless confirmed as much in an interview with The Washington Post.

"This trend has been well underway," Burtless told the news provider. "We had a very, very long recovery from an extremely deep recession. It wasn’t spectacularly fast, but it has been spectacularly long.”

The field of professional and business services stood well above other sectors of the U.S. economy in terms of increased employment for the month, adding a total of 50,000 jobs. Construction rounded out the group of sectors with five-figure job gains due to the 13,000 new roles it created, and mining was the only other industry with statistically significant employment growth for the month, adding 5,000 jobs altogether.

Speaking with Bloomberg, Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., offered a largely positive but nuanced take on the newest numbers from the BLS.

"This is a good job-creation number, but on the other hand we see still continued soft wage growth," Feroli said. "It’s positive in the sense that we still have some capacity to grow above trend without triggering too much inflation worry." He added that the Federal Reserve could interpret these indicators as reasons to maintain its current schedule of increases to federal benchmark interest rates, rather than expanding to four rate hikes for 2018 as many economists have anticipated.

Growth in average hourly earnings did slow somewhat during June, with the month’s 5 cent increase representing a 0.2 percent decline from May’s wage gains. Also, concerns persist among some American businesses regarding potential adverse effects of the recent U.S. tariffs on numerous imports, including $34 billion in new levies placed on goods from China as of July 6, 2018. Yet the full effect of those measures remains to be seen, and in the meantime, the American economy is in a positive place, as it has generally been for the past several years.

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

After a few months earlier in 2018, when Canadian labour either saw slight declines or remained essentially static, June showed some signs of invigoration that were undoubtedly reassuring to Canadian business leaders and government leaders. July, however, came out even better, with organizations adding 54,000 jobs to their payrolls – nearly double the figure of 32,000 that was seen in June, according to the latest Labour Force Survey issued by Statistics Canada. Bloomberg reported that economists expected far less of Canadian labour in July – a gain of just 17,000 jobs.

Not only that, but nationwide unemployment also dropped to 5.8 per cent after hitting 6 per cent in June. This drop, which also beat experts’ prediction of a 0.1 per cent decline, brings the jobless percentage back to the level it held steady for four months before its brief June uptick, and overall, Canada’s jobless rate is the lowest it’s been since 1976.

In terms of the industries driving this upward surge of employment during July, there was something of a reversal between this month’s figures and those from other months in the year. The services sector, in various iterations, drastically outperformed market segments like construction and manufacturing that had previously been keeping Canada above water in terms of positive employment. This latest month, educational services created more new jobs than any other segment of the Canadian economy, with 37,000 new jobs added to its labour force. University employment drove the lion’s share of this growth, albeit with much of it coming from part-time employment. However, education’s year-over-year gain of 80,000 jobs (compared to July 2017) seems potentially indicative of a positive long-term trend. Information, culture and recreational organizations, many of which are in the private rather than public sector, also added 12,000 jobs.

By contrast to June – and several other months earlier in 2018 – manufacturing and constructing both saw declines during July. The former lost 18,000 workers, invalidating the 11,000 positions it gained the previous month, while the latter saw a decline of 12,000 jobs. However, due to construction’s massive employment surge from June (27,000 jobs added), the industry overall is not nearly as poorly impacted as it could have been. Natural resources was the only other sector to see a statistically significant gain or loss in employment, with a decline of 5,300 jobs.

Nasdaq reported that Canadian stocks saw some declines in early Toronto trading Aug. 10, the day of the survey’s release. However, this was consistent with global uncertainty in the stock market, which is mostly fueled by the banking crisis currently going on in Turkey, and is unlikely to bring significant detriment to the Canadian government. A slight dip in wage growth, as noted by the Canadian statistics agency, could be slightly more worrisome: Average hourly earnings rose only 3 per cent.

Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montreal, pointed out in a note to investors, obtained by Bloomberg, that the positive jobs report bodes well for hopes of an interest-rate increase by the Bank of Canada in the next few months.

"The labour market remains robust and there is easily enough here to convince the Bank of Canada to maintain its gradual tightening campaign," Porter stated, according to the news provider. His statement seems to echo general sentiments among other Canadian bankers and investors, who expect the national bank to announce a rate hike in either September or October.

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, July 2018

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