Unlock These Key Traits in Younger Leaders
Thanks to the expansive Millennial generation, there’s a strong youth movement that will come to define American business in the coming years. There’s a lot that’s been written about Millennials and all the supposed “traits” these people share. Here’s a hint: the thing they share most is “age” … from there, it’s about the person, not the generation. While there are some general management approaches that one might consider when hiring or managing Millennials, this article is not about those basic ideas and management approaches.
What we’re looking at here is why Millennials can make outstanding managers, and what you can do to help unlock their potential to benefit all of you.
Young leaders are good with change. While some older leaders can get stuck in their ways and tend to resist change out of hand, younger leaders tend to be more accepting of different directions. This is vital in a world that has been, for the past few years, defined by quantum leaps in technology and volatile market changes.
Consider, in the past decade, we’ve dealt with a Great Recession as well as a world that has become driven by mobile technology and online business.
We’ve gone from desktop computing and fax machines to doing everything on our phones in ten years. Meanwhile, the entire face of American retail has changed. Since Millennial ideas and preferences are largely why this is happening, having a smart, qualified and creative young professional in a place of influence in your decision-making processes is a pretty good idea.
Younger leaders can be more willing to be introspective and willing to engage in personal growth. They may sometimes act like they have it all figured out, younger leaders tend to be less likely than older leaders to make decisions as if they do. Do a thought experiment. Look at decisions being made by both older and younger leaders on your team.
Now, consider what might happen if you had to pull them in, one at a time, and tell them they’re dead wrong about something. Who would be more likely to listen to criticism? Again, this is a generalization, but the idea here is that younger leaders often have less time and energy invested in How I Do Things, so they are more susceptible to accepting suggestions on how to do things differently.
Along those same lines, while older leaders are often more connected to systems and “How Things Are Done” younger leaders tend to be more focused on results rather than the system they’re accustomed to. Again, this is a generalization. Flexibility should be judged on a case by case basis, but don’t discount this as a potential benefit of younger leaders.
Is there anything on the list that surprised you? Can you see how some of these considerations can help your business grow and operate better?