How well are we preparing millennials to be future leaders?
Jonathan Harvey, Managing Director — Global Head of Talent and Culture, Barclays
We know them as Millennials or Gen Y, but this generation of tech-savvy, feedback-hungry 30-somethings are the future leaders of our organizations and they will start getting there in the next ten years. So how well are we preparing them for the task ahead?
I fear the answer is: not deliberately enough. Typically, this group sits in the junior to middle management layer of our organizations. They remember a time, not so long ago, when they were graduates and, boy, did they feel special! You see, we really ‘turn it on’ for our grads… feedback galore, development coming out of their ears, attention paid to them by senior management. Proudly, they finish their graduate programme, move into a permanent role and that’s when reality hits.
If they’re lucky enough to strike a half-decent boss they’ll get some feedback and whilst, of course, much of their rich career development will come through experience, they’ll likely not see a development programme or a member of senior management for the next decade or so. Why do we only invest heavily in the development of our graduates and our senior management? For some reason, most organizations (I’m sure there are exceptions) forget this important group of junior and middle managers and we see significant levels of attrition as a result.
The popular perception is that Millennials aren’t loyal. I say, even if this is true (which I doubt), who could blame them? Have we showed loyalty to them? I firmly believe that this generation will be loyal to an organization if they are inspired, given development opportunities and (for this generation in particular) are given variety.
So what do we need from the next generation of leaders? I believe we need adaptability, a genuine love of (as opposed to comfort with) change and ambiguity and a broad intelligence encompassing the practical, the emotional and the cultural.
The good news is that the millennial generation shows all the signs of being more naturally predisposed to change and more agile and adaptive than the generation before them. The capability is there, but we do need to hone it.
This is where a programme like the streetwise mba is exciting. What better place to develop our future leaders’ curiosity, agility and Emotional and Cultural intelligence than on the streets of London, arguably the most exciting, adaptive and culturally diverse city on the planet!
For more insights on leadership visit http://commonpurpose.org/