The millennials now joining the workforce want to work in teams, perform meaningful tasks and have flexible jobs. This is a good thing. It is in line with current trends in corporations. Command and control has become outdated. Companies have dismantled rigid organizational structures and static hierarchies. Five characteristics define an authentic contemporary leader:
1. Empathy: Leaders listen – to their employees, to their customers, to their stakeholders. They welcome feedback and become role models for life-long learning and for dealing with criticism. They fuse internal and external teams with their soft skills and establish joint goals.
2. Advocacy: Leaders trust their teams. They encourage risk-taking and create an environment in which mistakes are allowed and accepted. If things don’t go quite as planned, they back up their employees and encourage them to find innovative solutions. Their advocacy provides guidance and inspires everyone in open organizational structures.
3. Passion: Material incentives only motivate in the short-term. Millennials, in particular, value meaning in their profession. Various studies support this assumption, such as one by Odgers Berndston. Leaders incorporate the company’s vision into their own tasks: What is our company’s contribution to the world? What is the individual employee’s share in it? Leaders motivate, encourage and inspire by dealing with the task at hand while always keeping the big picture in mind.
4. Role consciousness: First-class leaders know that they are role models for their teams, coworkers and other executives. They convince with their people skills as well as their professional expertise. Leaders exist at all levels of a company because leadership is not related to hierarchy.
5. Action: Leaders reject outdated, unwritten managerial rules. Speed today is better than perfection, good is good enough. Leaders act and take initiative. They keep out of narrow-minded political discussions. They do not administrate, but act – always in accordance with the needs of their clients, teams and company.
Did I miss anything? I look forward to reading your comments.