One of the major talking points is the lack of new leaders breaking through. There are a hundred theories on why Gen X and Y are not breaking through in the way that the baby boom generations did.
Leadership & Development strategies have come under intense scrutiny as to why, with the money, invested in programmes that new leaders have not broken through. Is the real truth that success in careers is not just about good skills but about mental resilience? Is this why there are so many struggling in today’s environment. The real need today, in terms of training and coaching, lies in the development of the mind-set of individuals.
It is easy to write that the baby boom generation grew up in a different era – but it did. It embraced life and was mentally excited at challenging all that life and work had in the 1980s. Being an entrepreneur in one’s twenties was commonplace and learning as one travelled the road was also just accepted. Mentally the baby boom generation was strong and the argument is that this generation grew as the sons and daughters of those cared by both the Second World War, no few recessions and the social revolutions of the 60s. Combined this all empowered and freed the young to embrace life, success and failure. The argument goes on that, in turn, this generation has over protected their children. Maybe but maybe life has just evolved and changed and lifestyles are more protected and softer – it just is what it is.
However the challenge that is clearly on the table is the need to develop the mental resilience of the young to work
Many of those that work with the emerging generations see exciting talent with a greater intellect than previous generations. They just need developing. Companies are developing skills but it is not skills that create leaders – this lies in the mind and this is where, in truth, very little is invested in. We all know the rising stats in mental illness but this is not alone the issue – the issue is how to handle adversity, pressure, work pressures; how to keep a calm perspective and how to build relationships at work under pressure
So much does lie in the mind
This is one of the core reasons why there is a strong marriage to take place between the worlds of work and sport: for the sports players – especially those that operate at the top end – understand very well the mental side of operating under pressure, often in the public eye. The sports industry has evolved far more than the business world over the last 15 years and many sports players can be exceptional mentors and coaches to developing talent.
This has been the aim with the development of EP Emerging Leaders Club – which is designed with a focus on helping to develop mind-sets.
If one talks to experts across the board, most will talk of a dumbing down in thinking, in the mental approach of strategies and business process. This dumbing down can be arguably best seen with the approach of many news channels and even within politics where leadership is arguably not that of previous times.
This dumbing down may make businesses better run and managed but it does not serve people any better. At the heart of every business lies people. People are still the finest asset – people do still make a core difference to everyone’s lives every day – it is people that bring smiles, laughter, friendship and the best communication. It is people that inspire ideas and innovation.
But to make this the best we can, we need to empower the young again – we do need to free young talent from the shackles that it’s under but to do this with trust, we also need to ensure that they are equipped with the right skills – and this is mental as much as skill based.