3 Skills to be an effective and successful Millennial Leader
“Good leaders develop ideas. Great leaders develop people. The best leaders develop new leaders.” – Bobby Umar
I was very fortunate to be promoted to become one of the youngest leaders in my organization because I have consistently delivered great results as an individual contributor. This might sound very familiar to you too.
But what happens next? There is no manual on how to become an inspiring leader.
What I did in the beginning is to learn from my great bosses I have worked for in the past and replicate their good traits and at the same time avoid behaviors of the less inspiring bosses. This gave me a great head start to identify the leadership style where I feel true to myself – yet being an effective leader with a generational and cultural diverse team.
“Being a leader means to create heroes and not become one yourself.”
I wasn’t very certain whether I would be an inspiring and humble leader because I realize that I have high expectations of myself and always strive to be the best I can be. I know that I cannot expect that of every of my team member. I also understood that I won’t be in the limelight anymore and it’s time for my team members to shine. Surprisingly, I actually felt like a proud parent whenever I see my team members succeed and receive recognition from others.
Needless to say that creating rapport and trust in the very beginning is the most integral part of leadership.
I like to summarize my personal leadership style that helped me as a Millennial leader with an extremely diverse team as the 3 E’s of Leadership:
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” - Warren Bennis
It’s all about equipping your team members with the right knowledge and I’m not referring to functional competencies because you have very likely hired capable individuals in your team to be able to do their jobs.
This is a critical phase where most effort is required to ensure that the individual truly understands their role and responsibilities. But if you invest time in this phase, everything else will continue smoothly.
As a leader, our responsibility is to…
🌟Have transparent and regular communication to clarify goals and responsibilities with our team members. Especially when you have a new joiner, ensure that they are clear about their roles and responsibilities, as well as their targets for the upcoming year.
🌟Genuinely listen, offer and provide support or steer if required. Regular connects with your team members also allow them to provide updates on what they are working on and where you can show your support to help them overcome blockers.
🌟Provide constructive feedback on the progress of the individual towards their business objectives. Especially with the Millennials who appreciate regular feedback on their performance, it is essential to connect with your team members on a regular basis e.g. bi-weekly or monthly, to understand their progress and check in whether they require your steer.
“Leadership is not wielding authority – it’s empowering people.” – Becky Brodin
No one likes a neck-breather as a boss. I like to use the analogy that after I equip my team members with the right and sufficient knowledge, I will throw them in the cold waters – but I will be at the side with a life-saving ring and will always be there if they struggle.
Empowerment is so much more than just delegating:
🌟Respect and trust your team: It requires shared values and power with a clearly defined boundary.
🌟Support them along the way, but let it go. Be comfortable to take a step back and understand that your team got it. Use your regular check in’s to ensure that you are available to provide feedback but your team member is owning the entire task end-to-end. This will increase the capacity of the individual to make own choices and at the same time understanding that they bear both, positive and negative consequences.
🌟Accept mistakes as learning opportunities. If your team members make mistakes, see them as learning opportunities and also an opportunity to share with other team members to proactively avoid recurrence in future.
“A big part of leadership is recognizing that your fruit often grows on other people’s trees.” – Todd Adkins
What certain leaders forget to do after empowering their team members, is to expose them and their great achievements. If key people aren't aware of you, you'll likely miss out on opportunities to improve your skills and take on interesting promotions, despite your hard work and good performance.
As leaders we can therefore help to increase exposure for our team members without making them uncomfortable having to “brag” about their achievements themselves:
🌟Develop your team through exposure in the organization. When your team members have achieved great results, it’s a great opportunity for them to showcase their accomplishments instead of leaders to do the presentation on their behalf.
🌟Visibility in the organization will enable them to be known for their great performance. As leaders, we should promote our team members by preparing them to present their work at townhalls or other meetings, so they gain visibility also to other senior management in the organization.
🌟Recognition for their efforts and achievements throughout the organization. It’s rewarding them in front of others for their hard work and great delivery which is a great motivation to keep it up or live up to the expectations.
I have personally found the 3 E’s of Leadership very effective and it enabled me to develop an authentic leadership style that I am very comfortable with.
👇🏻If you missed the mini-video series #3ELeadership check out this video compilation👇🏻