Gen Y Leader

Teaching Leadership to Gen Y

In my experience, Gen Y are not afraid to step up and take on responsibility. They possess a ‘can do attitude’ and are great team players. 28% of managerial positions in the United States are already held by Gen Ys, those born between 1980s – 2000, also known as Millennials (Bersin). Common characteristics of Gen Ys are that they are confident, motivated, and looking for balanced lifestyles. 

So how can you give your Gen Ys clarity on what it means to step up and be accountable as a leader? Teach them to communicate and collaborate across an organisation in an authentic way.

As my colleague Dr. Vince Molinaro says in his recent New York Times Bestseller, The Leadership Contract:

  • Leadership is a decision. Make it.
  • Leadership is an obligation. Step up.
  • Leadership is tough work. Get tough.
  • Leadership is a community. Connect.

This last point in particular relates to Gen Ys. They have had the tools—games, texting, email, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn—from an early age and for them, it’s second nature to connect across an entire organization. The Gen Ys don’t believe that leaders are only at the top of the house and instead believe they can be found throughout the organization.

The key for any Human Resources professional looking to engage their organization in leadership development with Gen Ys is to form multi-experience teams. Make the Gen Y employees co-project managers with a more experienced leader in the organization. Offer a level-setting opportunity or problem to solve, related to company growth, customer service, selling, and product innovation. Get the teams to identify SMART goals, set SMART goals, and align these SMART goals to the organization’s strategy. HR Executives can support this by giving all their people insight into ‘who they are,’ ‘what they bring,’ and ‘how to become high-impact contributors.’

I suggest we GO! Get Organized, harness collective energy, and collaborate-away with transparency.   

What do you think?

Dr. Celia Richardson is Vice President, Strategic Learning Solutions at Knightsbridge. Knightsbridge is a North American human capital solutions firm that truly integrates the expertise of finding, developing, and optimizing an organization’s people to deliver more effective solutions and better performance.