This is not as hard as it sometimes seems.
The world is evolving at such pace that leaders need to be prepared to live in a world which will constantly be uncertain and that will be almost consistently vulnerable. The natural instinct is to try and control when, in truth, the need to enable and trust in young leaders.
Society has changed, and the emerging generations have grown up in arguably the safest ever environment, which has naturally meant that they too will think differently to previous generations. In previous eras, making a good living was the primary objective. The old saying that “mortgages made mice of men” existed for good reason. Many talks today about the fear of failure, but in previous generations, one expected to compromise on one’s aspirations and hopes. Past generations were focused on lower expectations. One leading Industry CEO started his career as a chef so as to escape the fate of his brothers in having to work on a factory floor in a broken and depressed South Wales of the 1980s. He was driven by a desire to build a life as far away from his children having to face that choice.
The greatest success of the baby boomer generation has lain in building wealth and safe environments for their children to have the freedom to aspire for greater. The irony, of course, is that this has also created the fault lines and tensions that many have struggled to understand.
The millennial generation has come to force as the largest group in employment today. They are the most educated, diverse, and inclusive generation to emerge yet, and they are naturally making the arguing for greater change. They have strong ideals, and they are coming into positions of influence. This should lead to a far more progressive agenda emerging.
The baby boomer generation, in contrast, has been one of the finest business generations ever. They have faced a lot of criticism in how they have struggled to nurture the millennials through. Some of this has been fair; some not so. The irony is the millennials are a reflection of the baby boomers and the previous generation, the so-called Silent Generation, just their more personal selves, found away from the office. The gap is not as great as is often stated. In truth, it is very little. It is time that the next generations are more enabled to create the change they so desire.
The baby boomers started themselves with strong idealism, and they have broken many barriers. They have parented with greater levels of love, care, and education in what matters. They have laid the land for a change. It will be the next generations that will see this change through.
The world faces some serious problems. It will need a genuine philosophy of change to create the momentum needed. Today’s leaders need to be prepared to listen and learn like never before; they need to be able to adapt; be open to other’s ideas, for they will not be able to understand all that is going on around them; and be able to be leaders that their teams can relate to. No longer can leaders be aloof, or inaccessible. They need to genuine, authentic, and visible.
One of the most common words being used at this time is ”trust”. There has been a general erosion of trust in leaders, in institutions and in business. Now, as we face life post-Covid-19, leaders need to fast rebuild the lost trust with their teams and customers. How can this be done? It will require a change in behaviours and mindset.