Participants at Jamaica’s leading conference focusing on middle managers have been challenged to lead the effort to reduce the country’s negative trade balance, which stood at more than US$4 billion for 2021.
The call came from Senator Aubyn Hill, Minister of Industry, Investments and Commerce, who delivered the main address at the 13th staging of the Middle Managers’ Leadership Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on April 26.
Noting that Jamaica has registered a greater value of exports than imports in only one since Independence in 1962, Minister Hill charged the participants to be tenacious in helping their companies to increase the country’s output.
“If you’re going to be a leader, make sure that in the stage of following, you follow wisely and well…Be tenacious and stay the course. You are the glue that keeps things together. Develop a variety of skills if you want to become a really good CEO”, Hill told the participants at the conference, which is staged by Make Your Mark Group.
The two-day conference sought to educate and upskill mid-management personnel about the essentials of team management, organisation growth and management, and the tools needed to lead by example. Defining a leader simply as “someone who has followers”, Hill urged the participants to develop a good attitude to serve.
“Don’t just regulate and block – enable, facilitate and encourage”, he said.
Hill said middle managers should seek out problems in their organisations and fix them while remaining authentic, with their words matching their actions. Employers, on the other hand, should pay their employees well because “the best incentive (employees) get is at the end of the month if you are paid monthly, or at the end of two weeks if you’re paid fortnightly”.
Hill urged the participants to not only heed the advice of their friends but to listen to their “most acerbic critic and treat them as an unpaid consultant”.
Noting that unemployment is at its lowest level in Jamaica’s history at about 6.5 per cent, Minister Hill said the government would be ramping up training of unskilled persons in the short term and called on the private sector to do the same.
“Government is training people through apprenticeships, but businesses must step up and train a lot more people”, Minister Hill said.
The Middle Managers’ Leadership Conference, hosted by Dr Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, CEO of the Make Your Mark Group was held under the theme “Leading from the Middle with Courage, Authenticity and Vision”.