Have you identified who you want to groom to take over your position? It’s possible that you will not be able to move onto a new opportunity unless there is a clear candidate for your current position. Also, when you work hard to create a high performing group you want to see it continue to succeed. Additionally, you then have the chance to help someone else grow into their leadership potential.
It’s clear that in the next 5 to 10 years there will be a dramatic shift in the workforce, both from age demographics and work style. As the Baby Boomers move into retirement and more Gen Y enter the workforce the dynamics of how business is done will be changing. Are you preparing your organization for these changes?
The changes that will be developing with the changing of the guard are both in how work is done and in leadership styles. The younger generations have different views on employee/boss relationships, communication styles, preferred work style, motivation, etc. The Baby Boomers who make up the majority of leader roles today are the ones who need to prepare people and organizations for the shift. To accomplish this will be a challenge to them because much of what will work in the future goes against their natural instincts. And yet, they must step up to the challenge.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when working to develop leadership skills in Gen Y:
- Collaboration: Teamwork ranks higher than individual efforts
- Technology: This generation grew up with computers and technology
- Diversity: Celebrating and accepting the differences of people is natural
- Confidence: They believe they can do anything they put their minds to
- Goal Oriented: Willingness to focus and achieve goals
- Feedback: Looking for constant feedback on performance
As you work on developing the skills needed for young professionals in your organization to take over leadership roles creating a structure where they can play to their strengths will help them succeed. One challenge will be to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Historically this is a skill learned through time and experience. The speed of change in today’s business world makes this approach ineffective. The ability to think critically and strategically must be actively approached and developed.
Some tips to help grow this vital skill are:
- Seek Input: Draw information out of everyone and leverage technology sources
- Solicit Ideas: Get ideas for solutions from everyone – regardless of experience level
- Encourage Discussion: Create an environment where solutions are explored and discussed from all viewpoints – constructive conflict is great
- Provide Feedback: Ask stakeholders for feedback on needs and desires
- Embrace Risk: Evaluate risks and allow opportunities for people to take risks without being penalized heavily for mistake
Creating an environment where each generation can learn from each other in an open and encouraging world will help the newer generations learn leadership skills. Leadership styles will change over time, as they have in the past, so it is critical for today’s leaders to embrace the differences in styles so that tomorrow’s leaders will be set to skillfully lead.
What are you doing to develop your successors?