Canadian Manufacturing

Being a company leader is harder today that five years ago, says new survey

Management challenges have intensified over the past five years, based on a new study by Robert Half

TORONTO—Leading a business is only getting harder, recent research found. In a Robert Half Management Resources survey, 87 per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said it is more challenging to be a company leader today than it was five years ago.

But survey results also found many managers enjoy support from their teams. Seventy-nine per cent of workers surveyed expressed confidence in their leaders, while only six per cent do not feel confident at all.

Below are the provinces where the difficulties of being in management have intensified the most over the past five years, based on the percentages of executives who said it is significantly or somewhat more challenging to be a company leader today.

  • British Columbia (100 per cent)
  • Alberta (98 per cent)
  • Quebec (95 per cent)
  • Manitoba (92 per cent)

“Facing an ever-evolving corporate landscape, executives have to deal with the pressures of emerging trends that require them to continually reassess everything from technology and staffing challenges, to regulatory demands and compliance requirements,” said David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources. “Great leaders understand the fundamentals of their field, but also know that it is the ability to recognize new opportunities through innovation that will ultimately set their business apart.”

King reminds managers to look to their employees for support. “An engaged team is a committed team, and executives who address challenges and opportunities with their employees build a foundation of trust and shared goals for business growth.”

Here are five challenges facing leaders today and the attributes needed to address them:

Taking a ‘big picture’ view.
As CFOs whose work outside of finance has expanded in recent years know well, executives are no longer tasked with just overseeing their department. They must draw on their strong business acumen, understanding how their unit’s decisions and performance affect the broader organization.

Overcoming staffing challenges. Building a skilled team in the face of candidate shortages and retention concerns requires special talents. Business leaders today are tasked with fostering relationships with recruiting sources and developing an effective staffing management strategy, blending full-time personnel with specialized professionals who can be brought in on-demand.

Maintaining an edge over diverse competitors. Firms face threats not just from traditional competitors, but also increasingly from organizations disrupting the marketplace with new business models. Organizations need leaders who can anticipate changes in the competitive landscape and inspire innovation to stay on top.

Remaining compliant with evolving mandates. Regulatory pressures continue to mount for many industries and companies. Executives today need to be experts on the mandates affecting their business and understand how compliance is more than meeting a set of requirements and can instead help the firm prosper.

Keeping up with technology. As history has repeatedly shown, technology can change everything at a moment’s notice. The onus is on business leaders to monitor the technology trends affecting their organizations and positions and adapt accordingly.

The research was developed by staffing and human resources services provider Robert Half Management Resources and conducted by independent research firms.

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