In a rapidly changing world, the rise of a new generation of leaders has sparked a shift in how we navigate challenges and cultivate resilience. I’ve noticed it, and I bet you have seen it too.
A new generation of leaders has taken on responsibilities from family businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Many leaders I’ve advised over the past fifeen years have moved, retired, or stepped aside to allow the next generation of leaders to take over. The New York Times posted a story about this event in last Sunday’s edition. While the transition is notable, the more critical aspect relates to how this new generation of leaders’ lead.
One of my young global clients in Europe recently embarked on a new role as a manager, overseeing a team of over 500 people. During our conversation, he candidly expressed his need to improve his “small talk” skills to build connections and networks with his group and others. His immediate focus on work issues during meetings clearly hindered his team from approaching him with non-work-related concerns. However, he recognized the value of building stronger personal relationships with his staff to develop what he referred to as his need to be a more “modern manager.”
The research shared in that NYT article by Emma Goldberg further emphasizes the importance of one of our resilience skills…flexibility in leadership. Stanford’s findings reveal that different generational groups have different perspectives on factors such as work from home and managers who recognize and address these different perspectives can be more effective
So, how can you become, a more “modern leader.”? Here are some practical strategies:
- Think of everything as an opportunity: Stop thinking, “Oh, this will be bad,” instead, ask, “How can I use this for learning?”
- Strengthen influencing skills: It is all about messaging with others and how you can help them to truly see what is in front of them in relationship to their people and the business strategy.
- Think like a peer: You have bosses, you have team members. In business today, everyone must be a colleague. Speak your mind and do so respectfully and collaboratively. Everyone values your opinion, and they want theirs to be respected as well.
- Listen: For all my career, I’ve advised listening. It is free, easy to do and very informative. People will tell you what they need and then we can decide if we can do it. Without hearing it though, we have no idea!
With these shifting demographics, it is a good time to assess our leadership skills and find ways to strengthen leadership skills. My work with my colleague Michael Couch, and our book, Strategy Driven Leadership provides a roadmap for developing current and future generations of leaders.
It may be a new world but the old rule of build your skills will never go away.
© Richard Citrin 2023