Archive for Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chamber luncheon focuses on leadership

February 25, 2009

“Leadership 101” was covered in about 20 minutes at Thursday’s Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce meeting, according to Terry Morrison, business and technology coordinator at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

The luncheon meeting, held at city council chambers, focused on leadership in business.

Morrison and Marisa Gray, KCKCC business development liaison, asked the roughly 25 in attendance to write down challenges that businesses face, as well qualities people possess that can combat these challenges.

Some of the challenges people came up with: Creating awareness of events, communication, economic downturn, productivity at a high level, customer retention, competition and attempting to stay within a budget.

Morrison and Gray then asked the group to write down the qualities good leaders possess to address those challenges.

Flexibility, open-mindedness, experience, organization, creativity, influence, courage and adaptability were some of the answers from the group. Also, leaders should have an open-door policy and truly mean it, be forward thinking and be able to take criticism, people at the meeting noted.

After discussion of both lists, Morrison showed lists for the same two topics — taken from a survey of 600 businesses.

On the list of challenges: Daily delivery of customer service, maintaining quality control, recruiting quality individuals, improving staff productivity, surviving in a changing economy, operating at more profitable levels.

Morrison noted the survey was taken before the economy took a nose-dive.

On the leadership qualities list were: Being skilled, inventive, mindful, collaborative and a visionary.

Communication is a big part of leadership, Morrison added.

“Do you share information, do you keep everybody informed up and down?” he asked. “Ever had a boss who took credit for something you did? And how creative were you for that person next time out?”

During the luncheon Morrison also reminded the chamber group of six basic principles:

• Focus on the situation

• Maintain self-esteem/confidence

• Maintain constructive relationships

• Take initiative

• Think beyond the moment

• Lead by example

When the workshop was finished, Gray reminded those at the chamber meeting that the KCKCC business development department offers workshops in the area of helping build cohesiveness of a workplace where four or five generations of people work.

As an example of an issue nationally, Gray mentioned that baby boomer men account for the highest level of unemployment because they don’t have updated computer skills.

Some businesses, though, may qualify a tax incentive when it comes to retraining part of a business’ work force, or even bringing in an additional workforce.

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