Leaders need to think differently and act differently, they need a new mindset and tool sets while leading
A study by the Association for Talent Development found many of those born between 1980 and 2000 lacked “soft skills,” such as diplomacy and communication.
As large a number of Millennials or Gen Y move into the into the workplace, it is believed that businesses will be encountering a leadership development crisis. The New Leader’s Council and Virtuali have published a report which underscores the impact that changes in the workplace with a growth of 30 per cent or more of millennials becoming the majority of workers. Further, the report notes that 50 per cent of millennials are already in leadership positions. Yet, 64 per cent of those surveyed felt “unprepared” when assuming their leadership roles and report difficulties managing people and resolving conflicts. Millennials today tend to change jobs more frequently, as they are constantly looking for opportunities to progress in their career. Having an employer who invests in them and gives them the opportunity to develop new skills can make them more likely to stick around. when asked what makes an employer attractive Millennials have consistently rated leadership development and opportunities for training and development among the most important employer benefits.
Existing Leadership Skill Gap
There is a significant gap in terms of the skill set that millennials possess while entering the work-force. With Laser sharp focus on growth, quarterly results and profitability, the need to have talent is becoming higher and bigger. Talent is a combination of work related skills, life/soft skills and other character traits. The current workforce coming into organizations needs inputs on all these fronts, most importantly on soft skills and that is where organizations are not prepared. Work skills and value alignment inputs prepare the young workforce well but they seem to struggle on overall effectiveness and productivity when it comes soft skills. These skills are business acumen basics, communication & presentation, writing skills, ability to lead self effectively, manage resources efficiently, business mannerisms and etiquettes, extrapolation skills, team working skills, problem solving abilities etc. Organisations, small or big, corporates or PSUs, seem to be struggling on this. Currently, one of the biggest initiatives in the country is on the skilling front and faster this gap is filled, faster will organizations become effec-tive, stable and aligned to principles of growth and development.
Developing Millennial Leaders
The priority on development of millennials is at the helm of affairs. Leaders need to think differently and act differently, they need a new mindset and tool sets while leading. The overall responsibility of leading teams is a critical role and to do this based on merit is the challenge. Leadership is not only an art, but also a major science that can be learnt. So there is huge focus on developing millennial leaders on the critical skills. FranklinCovey India has made serious investments in the same and has clearly chalked Learning & Development path for the organization’s millennial leaders. All of these are led by the Board of directors themselves. Development of millennial leaders needs to be led by the senior/top manage-ment as their focus. Creating accountability to build leaders is the key to long term organizational sustainability. A co-owned development and learning pathway needs to be drafted together with resources and investment put together for the same. Young leaders should be empowered in an environment that is open to mistakes; trust is the crucial driver when it comes to development of the millennials.
Millennial Leadership Development
Development of millennials will require patience. With Gen Y, it’s important to keep the content short, crisp and relevant, offer regular feedback and appreciation, and throw challenging opportu-nities their way. Some other points to keep in mind while training millennials to emerge as effective leaders are: Co-Ownership of responsibility; trust that allows for taking risks and making mistakes; empowerment of the emerging leaders by providing them with opportunities and challenges; need to remain open to and embrace new ideas; support of individual identity and creativity; bestow freedom to take decisions and delegation of tasks is integral in the grooming process of leadership development of millennials.
Many organizations create exceptionally good products and systems, but fail due to a narrow leadership pipeline. Having a strong pipeline of leaders results in lowered vulnerability. Further, creativity & innovation become a part of natural culture; adversarial behaviours reduce and team work increases. Organizations like these truly grow with superiority and sustainability and achieve greatness.