The Year of the Leader

Published on Jan. 30, 2014

Rapid technological advancements, more Millennials and Gen Z are entering the workforce, and an unparalleled increase in employee awareness are some of the key challenges that businesses will encounter this year. Great leaders are recognizing that seeing beyond “me” and embracing “we” is essential to developing a strong team dynamic as an integral part of the corporate culture.

It goes without saying, it is the year in which leaders take charge by first acknowledging these challenges, and secondly, by taking proactive measures to maintain employee engagement.

Below are two fundamental areas all leaders should hone in on this year:

The Clash of the Generations

Organizations are gravitating towards rich social media and digitally infused environments. Generation X and the Baby Boomers may find this transition more challenging as they learn to cope with technology requirements that did not previously exist in order for them to perform their jobs. Leaders need to recognize any potential learning curves these generations may face and be supportive by providing relevant training and encouraging, open communication to address any raised concerns.

According to a recent study by Deloitte, Millennials, who tend to be technologically inclined, are also often viewed as passionate non-conformists with high expectations. They need to be motivated, nourished, and most importantly, valued – otherwise, you won’t find them sticking around for long. Win them over with meaning. In other words, show your Millennials how and why their job makes a fundamental contribution to the organization and how they fit into the “big picture.” By 2025, Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce and leaders need to provide them with the right resources and training in the present in order to produce resilient leaders for the future.

Want to keep your employees? Prove it.

According to the Gallup global wide study, 63% of employees are not engaged. Why? Today’s employees, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, envision an ideal working space that includes an encouraging manager, a competitive salary package, a welcoming corporate culture, career growth, meaningful work experience, and flexible hours. In a nutshell, they want the whole package.

Leaders’ listening skills need to be intensified this year. Listen to what motivates your employees and keep them engaged through the rewards and environments they crave. Happy employees will lead to higher engagement, which will ultimately result in high levels of productivity and success for your organization.

To borrow the words of E.M. Kelly, “A boss says ‘Go!’ A leader says ‘Let’s Go.’” A successful leader is not a one-man/woman show. A true leader understands the fundamental value of genuine collaboration. Leaders who groom their people into the best versions of themselves and offer environments that foster innovative thinking, growth, rewards, and value will minimize turnover and maximize returns.

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