Samuel: Metal industry leadership needs diversity

Diversity is needed within the leadership of the metals industries and redefining what makes a great leader is key to making this happen, says Samuel, Son & Co president and ceo Colin Osborne.

Speaking at the Association of Women in the Metal Industries’ annual meeting last week in Orlando, Florida, Osborne said most diversity initiatives meet great resistance at senior levels of management and ultimately fail because of this.

“[Diversity] does have to start from the top and it has to be sincere,” Osborne said. “Putting the best possible leaders in the best possible position, that’s what I need to do.”

Osborne said Samuel, Son & Co has three areas of focus to make this happen: internal development, external recruiting, and the training and culture within the company. Communication is key at all levels, he told AWMI conference attendees, which included Kallanish.

Conventional views of leadership value confidence over everything else, including competence, he said, but good leadership is not just about commanding control.

Traditional leadership characteristics such as overconfidence, charisma, commanding, and talking need to be replaced by placing more value on things like humility, thoughtfulness, inspiration, and listening, he said.

“We are investing heavily in training and communication to change the view of what great leadership really looks like so the best leaders get promoted,” Osborne said.

Osborne said he is happy with the trajectory of Samuel, Son & Co’s approach to redefining leadership. While his company’s approach is nowhere near mature, “We are learning as we go,” he said.

Samuel, Son & Co is a privately-owned company headquartered in Oakville, Ontario. It is one of the oldest metals service centres in North America with locations throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. Its metal purchases reach between 3-4 million short tons/year.

Laura Miller USA