Gen Y views on Leadership

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During my travel and speaking to a variety of GenY people who have been gainfully employed, on their views of what is the kind of leader that they would like to work for, I got a few answers that I thought was worth discussing.

They highlighted the following traits that they would look for.

Lead with the Heart

It is necessary that the leader puts their heart and head together. Accomplishing extraordinary things, calls for extraordinary work. Leaders must put forth objectives that they believe in, so that they can live it. They need to recognize the work put in by the team members. All members of the team must be treated fairly for what they contribute. Leaders should mark and celebrate accomplishments and make the members feel like heroes.

Get a “buy-in” on the vision

If leaders can lead with the heart, this would be possible. Leaders must communicate in a way that the vision or the objective is accepted by all the team members. They must set an inspiring objective, which members would like to align to. While the organization would like to focus on the bottom line, the leaders must not lose sight of the building of human capital. This could happen only with a shared vision that focuses on people which in turn could generate results.

Walk the talk

Leaders need to walk the talk. People like to follow the leaders who model the roles that they would like their team members do. When leaders practice what they preach, they get their message across quickly and effectively. After all, they are seen as “mentors” and the team is dependent on what they see, so that they can emulate the behaviors and build a strong team. Finally it is “team work” that makes things happen in any organization. It is necessary that the leader not only guides the rowing of the boat, but also shows how it is done. Leading and doing have to be in alignment. They should create standards of excellence by example, for the team to follow. Leaders should not only be able to put up signposts to direct the team, but also roll up their sleeves and get under the hood, when people are not clear on what or how to do things.

Challenge the process

Leaders should be willing to challenge the way things are being done and look for different ways to be able to do better. They should be willing to change. The pace at which things are moving is so fast that there is a constant need to adapt. While it is necessary to have some processes, leaders must be willing to challenge them and seek newer ways of doing things and constantly moving ahead on the learning curve. The “what was good yesterday is good for tomorrow” is not something that can be considered true any longer.

Enable action from others

Leaders need to create an environment where others are empowered to act. They need to create an environment where team members can experiment and try new things. They need to provide support for innovation. They should be seen as supportive to help build spirited teams that can work in collaboration. Leaders must establish a climate of mutual respect, if they want to see sustained extraordinary efforts by their teams. They must create an environment that build trust, which strengthens the team members and make people feel capable.   


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