The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way our young leaders of today and tomorrow see their lives and future within the workforce. In a nutshell, these days young workers value a good work-life balance, a non-stressful work environment, a boss or manager who appreciates them, a job that challenges them and gives them a chance to shine when it comes to their talents, strengths, experience and abilities.
I know a lot of people say that today’s young workers don’t work hard enough, expect things to be handed to them on a silver platter, have an attitude or want to change everything. But I think we need to be a bit more understanding, because our young workers DO work hard and they do WANT to work. They just have different ways of doing things. They want more flexibility in their working hours, they don’t just want to spend their lives working to pay the bills, they want a fair work-life balance and they have different ways of seeing things because they are trying to keep up with an evolving world.
It can feel like a bit of a challenge for our current leaders to know how to understand younger team members and a younger target market. However, young leaders are essential to today’s workplaces because they bring enthusiasm to the team, they understand next generation trends, are technologically smart, learn first, are fun to work with and are passionate about the organisation’s mission. They just want different things and view the world differently, that doesn’t make them worse or bad leaders.
So, how can we steer young workers onto the path to become the fantastic leaders that our world needs?
1. Teach them confidence from a young age
Parents, this one is for you. Start teaching your children how to accept themselves for who they are from a young age and show them how to be confident in their own abilities. It saddens me when I see so many people grow up not believing in themselves because their parents didn’t. Believe in your children, shower them with acceptance, teach them how to be respectful of others and inspire them to be confident.
2. Give them opportunities to lead and grow
Give young children opportunities to lead, the chance to make their own decisions and build up their independence. Allow them to learn from their mistakes and teach them how to respect each other. They can build confidence when their thoughts and opinions are valued by those around them. Let them play, let them explore and overall let them be kids.
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3. Young leaders need mentors and role models
Lead by example when it comes to teaching our young leaders. This can start at home, at school and be developed in the work place. For parents, they can teach their kids by showing them (through their own actions) how others should be treated, teach them manners and how to respect other people and their opinions. While workplace leaders can show young leaders how to treat a team, how to express gratitude, how to lead with courage and have empathy.
Young children can be cruel at times, whether it’s to a classmate or a parent. That’s why it’s important to start teaching kids about empathy from a young age. This is so they are accepting of differences, of disabilities and life situations. They will be able to carry this trait throughout their school and university years, when they start working and when they eventually become a leader themselves.
One trait I believe should be taught in schools is the ability to be organised and time management. Kids go from learning about English and Maths, to university and then into the workforce. It’s a huge and emotional change for many people and helping them to cope with the stresses of changing environments will be helpful down the track, as well as help them to become a better leader. If you’re a parent, you can encourage your child to keep a diary of appointments and what homework needs to be done this week. This will be a big help later down the track when they start university.
The world is continuing to change and it’s not going to stop any time soon. Change is on our doorstep and knocking. That’s why it’s so important that we are positive and good role models for our future leaders, so that they can learn from us and become the fantastic leaders our world needs.
Our current leaders need to accept that the younger generation will always see things differently to us, accept the world is changing, keep developing our own skills so we can keep up with technological changes and continue to support our kids every step of the way.
By Sonia McDonald – CEO of LeadershipHQ And McDonald Inc. Leadership Coach, Global Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur, CEO And Award Winning Author.
Sonia McDonald is changing the face of leadership across the globe. She believes we should lead with kindness and courage, from the heart, and is known for her mantra ‘Just Lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her transformational coaching, leadership training programs and cultural transformation for organisations and encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped thousands of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
Sonia is a founder and CEO of McDonald Inc., LeadershipHQ and Global Outstanding Leadership Awards and 2022 Courage Conference. For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of leadership and she is beyond committed to her mission around building a world of great leaders.
She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader. She has been recognised by Richtopia as One of the Top 250 Influential Women across the Globe and Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is a leading coach, an award-winning published author of newly released First Comes Courage, Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! and has become an in-demand keynote speaker on leadership, kindness and courage.
Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, kindness, empathy and courage as well as building outstanding leadership across the Globe.