With the Covid-19 pandemic having paralyzed the British economy in recent weeks, the Leadership Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has hosted a regular podcast to discuss business leadership responses to the crisis with key figures from across the country.
We were delighted that our finance director, Richard Andrews, was recently invited to join the discussion with Matthew O’Neill, at a time when effective leadership is perhaps even more important than normal.
Effective Business In A Global Pandemic
Matthew opened the discussion by asking the question that is at the heart of all business operations in the UK at this time: how have the current restrictions and social distancing affected Broder Metals Group? Richard was able to explain how Broder Metals Group has been a model of good practice, implementing essential measures quickly to ensure the safety and well-being of all staff members, while ensuring that customers’ needs could still be met during the countrywide lockdown. Despite some teething problems, the transition to social distancing and remote working was, in fact, straightforward, due to the proactive approach of colleagues who recognized the importance of the measures and, as Richard explained, ‘cracked on’ – although getting the necessary technology in place for full remote working and social distancing took time.
In response to a question about the financial challenges that lie ahead for many UK business (concerns about which have heightened following the recent news of the worst fall in GDP in over a decade), Richard was buoyant, highlighting the strong financial position that Broder Metals Group enjoyed at the start of 2020. Not only will this help the business to weather the economic storm that is coming but will help to reinforce customer confidence in the company, strengthening their partnership to maintain smooth supply chains for manufacturing industries.
The Nature Of Effective Leadership
Leadership is a key quality for managers and directors in all businesses, but perceptions of the traits of effective leadership sometimes vary. Richard explained his view of leadership in the context of Broder Metals Group: motivational, inspirational, and committed to the best interests of staff and customers. When discussing the influences that have shaped his own leadership style, Richard highlighted his father who, as a business leader with wide experience in different fields, enabled him to hone his own style which relies not on autocracy, but on a collaborative approach to guiding colleagues through issues and problems.
The Challenges Facing Young People
Matthew highlighted the fact that many young people entering the workforce face a variety of challenges and asked Richard what he thought the most important of these are. Richard highlighted that it’s important to have different expectations of apprentices and university graduates and that there can be significant benefits to training school leavers. For example, the youngest apprentices tend to have few preconceptions about the role or unrealistic ambitions for their career progression. However, he explained it’s vital for young people to be prepared to work on their own initiative instead of relying on being ‘spoon-fed’, and to get on with others in a productive way that enables them to learn quickly. Many of the apprentices at Broder Metals Group have progressed to senior roles over time, demonstrating the potential for outstanding professional development with the right attitude and commitment.
What Next For Broder Metals Group?
The New Year marked an exciting time for the business, riding on the back of several years of rapid growth. With a strong team who work collaboratively and productively, the company is well-placed for further expansion. Richard explained that, for now, managing the business through the Covid-19 crisis remains the priority to protect the health and well-being of colleagues and customers; refocusing on the business’s long-term growth and goals will be the priority once the current situation improves. In the meantime, Broder Metals Group is open and ready to serve customers, both current and new.