Friday

What It Means to be a Gen Y Leader

By Rebecca Thorman
This post was originally published at Employee Evolution.
Update: You can also find the post at
The Industry Radar.
It’s a myth that the workplace is turning into one big leaderless state. Just as decisions made by committee often require head banging, life without leaders would be one big headache. Yes, leadership has changed and decentralized organizations are here to stay, but there will always be leaders. We want success. We want to win, and winners have leaders.
Once you’ve tossed aside the crutch of hierarchical authority though, “knowing how to build relationships, use influence and work with others is crucial to achieving the results you seek,” according to Valeria Maltoni, a specialist in connecting ideas and people.
A Generation Y leader inspires by enabling others to be leaders...
They know the strengths of those they lead, and exploit those for the success of that person. A Gen-Y leader
delegates to help the worker achieve their goals. They are motivated by relationships and have an obsession with seeing others succeed.
By making room for other leaders, “you attract people who aren’t followers, who aren’t looking for the kind of leader who will save them from the anxiety of responsibility,” according to Michael S. Hopkins. And the millennial generation does not follow.
Instead, we create our own content, build our own businesses, do things our way. Be an entrepreneur or die, says Sam Davidson at Cool People Care. For the Gen-Y leader, it isn’t about ego, but about sharing ownership and building a community of ideas. An effective Gen-Y leader helps our generation to embrace entrepreneurship at every level.
A Gen-Y leader is inclusive and collaborative, and not just within their sphere of influence. An isolated organization will perish. Successful organizations are defining themselves as the gateway expert in their field. On the playing field, in this instance, companies must pick the competitor to be a part of their team for bigger and better results. It’s not enough to have a quality product; you must reach out and promote others. Teamwork is no longer just within a company. It’s industry-wide.
As a result, lines haven’t just been blurred; they’ve been pulverized on high in a blender. Competitors are partners, work is play, and boundaries no longer exist. As such, Gen-Y leaders must be leaders by example, and in every aspect of their life, whether family, work, or play.
Generation Y leaders, however, can and will be easily replaced by their peers. We are a starfish generation. Go ahead and try to chop one of us down, and we’ll grow a whole sprawling forest in that person’s place. We’re that strong. We’re that motivated. We don’t respond lightly to pressure or corruption.
A Gen-Y leader’s efforts to maintain influence will be harder for that reason. Especially because it is often our peers doing the chopping. As a generation, we’re remarkably good at calling bull. We have no qualms about holding our leaders up to the light to check for transparency.
Gen-Y leaders then must know themselves first, and project their authenticity. They must also be constantly learning, experiencing, doing, networking, creating, giving. It won’t stop. Our generation won’t put up with selfish thoughts, unethical behavior, or tired ideas. The Gen-Y leader must be constantly on.
That’s how we will become the next great generation. We won’t stop.
Change is in the air; inhale deeply.

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