Leaders have an obligation to prepare the next generation of leaders. This becomes challenging because generational biases can get in the way of that development. As a leader you must work to see past the differences to build upon similarities and strengths of the emerging leaders.
The next generation of leaders will be the Millennials. As Baby Boomers retire at record rates there are not enough Gen X to fill all the voids left by the Boomers. This means the Millennials will be stepping into leadership roles even sooner than their predecessors.
As you start working to prepare Millennials for leadership roles there are several questions you need to ask yourself:
- What are the strengths of the person I am working with?
- What experiences do they need to have to be ready to lead?
- Am I making assumptions about their skills based on a generational bias?
- What can I learn from them?
- How can I help this person grow into a successful leader?
- Have I focused on generational stereotypes instead of on the person?
These questions will help identify the areas where you might be getting in the way of the development of the next generation of leaders. This new generation of leaders has so much to offer and so much to learn. It is up to the current leaders to help them do both.
Some of the value that Millennials bring to an organization is seen in the following areas:
- Technology utilization: They are wired and see technology as a fact of life and work so get their input on how it can serve the organization’s needs.
- Collaboration and connecting: They have been raised to work in teams and find it very natural to do so. Also, they connect with others via technology much faster.
- Inclusion: Often they see value for the team from a much wider variety of people so they welcome the contributions of each member.
- Desire to make a difference: One of the great things about Millennials is that they are interested in making a difference and being part of something bigger than themselves.
Tapping into these strengths will help Millennials feel valued as the next generation of leaders.
How are you developing and working with the next generation of leaders?
To gain more insights about working with the next generation of leaders check out the Lead With Giants tweetchat on Monday Nov 4th at 7:00pm EST (#leadwithgiants).