A recent survey of +10,000 18 to 35 year olds showed that leading is not their priority. Whilst older generations always aimed to reach the top of the ladder, become the boss, younger generations have other priorities. So how can you understand and manage and allow your entire team to thrive knowing this?
First of all why don’t younger generations aim to become the leaders of their team? Four elements stand out: – They lack the psychological safety to take risks or make mistakes – Too much to worry about taking on leadership responsibilities – Leadership brings higher levels of stress – Need to give up too much to take on a leadership role
So you can decide to address head-on all four of these points (and many more that you can only find out once you build a strong, listening, open relationship with all members of your team)
You can shift to a more collaborative, co-creation, diffused leadership mode. Where responsibility and worries about making mistakes is shared with a wider (united and supportive) team and there will be more likelihood for many to stand up and take ownership, without having to lead the entire pack forward. Instead co-creating the project and moving it forward to its highest level of innovation and success.
Always remember that leading takes energy, whilst well structured co-creation mode gives energy.
YES most of your team members (specially the most effective / capable ones !) prefer to Work From Home (WFH). Perhaps enjoying the opportunity of a physical team meeting from time to time, but generally loving the autonomy to decide when & where to work from. Dreading anyone looking over their neck checking whether they are sitting there, only apparently working hard until late.
Also YES many of your team members might instead return to the office but for a very bad reason: for Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).
If your team is driven by fear of only being recognised because of their physical presence, you definitely have an ineffective motivation structure that is not able to recognise and reward star players.
If you need people to come to the office for fear of missing out on rewards, you could be a much better leader. You perhaps could do more to convey the reason why they should give their best. You should accompany people individually to make them feel autonomous and able to do their best work without someone controlling / rewarding figure looking physically around them.
Additionally a team driven by fear, will rarely innovate. Imagine that lack of innovation today, in this era! A sure recipe for failure.
Is fear the only way you are capable of using to “lead”?
You think you need to give breathtaking presentations, rousing speeches, outstanding levels of work outputs but actually being great might be detrimental to you and to your team’s best outcomes.
Why getting a standing ovation at the end of each of your weekly team meetings is NOT what you should be aiming for.
It’s a delicate combination but the best possible outcome to have your team create the best innovation is spreading the amazingness.
When people feel part, feel they are not left behind, too far behind to contribute is when they give their best. Here is where perceptions play a big role: you think that person over there is useless and well below par and bringing the entire team down. But might they be better at another role, another task?
You want to identify (or train and develop) at least one place where each member of your team is amazing.
Then unite the individual amazingness; as Simon Sinek mentioned “It’s better to have a great team than a team of greats” so making everyone else really aware of each person’s role, skills, amazingness and how they all create the outcomes that make the highest possible outcomes possible.
So try and resist that standing ovation for your next team meeting and identify ways to find that magic spot where everyone in your team feels truly part and amazing.
Inaction can be good but is usually not conducive to a winning strategy. So why do we fail to take action and what kinds of actions help us and our organizations most?
With so many choices, so many possibilities and possible outcomes inaction is one likely outcome: you are so overwhelmed that you spend an inordinate amount of time just pondering on what might be best. Hence my experience of the rule of three, that you try your best to reach with your team three possible options to choose from. That is manageable, if you have 26 possibilities it will take much longer to take any action and often just be sitting there evaluating and not doing anything.
One method to quickly reduce options down to three (besides being lazy and stopping at the first three ideas for action that come to mind) is to be very sharply clear about the purpose of the team, the why and also the how, the way in which the organization is expected to behave. Only the options that do something to fulfil the purpose of the company and that are aligned with the how, the values of the company should be accepted as options.
Formula 1 team owner Frank Williams famously had a great way to make quick decisions: every time he received an invoice he asked “will paying this invoice make my car go faster?” Yes = he agreed , No = he did not agree.
Minimalists mention a way to get rid of excess: every day get rid of one thing. It is easy to achieve and it creates a habit. It becomes a surprisingly effective way to want to do more, to want to take more actions. Part of the trigger to action is that it is 1. easy, it is 2. doable and it is 3. satisfying: an object was there and is now no longer there cluttering my space with minimum effort. So that other rule of three is another great motivator and one you can try and implement in your team. Depending on your team you might wish to substitute 1. easy with 1. challenging as it might be a better motivator for a high performance team.
“We believe that only when an approach is inspired (read: the spirit blown into it), can it be successful and transformative. It doesn’t matter how smart the strategy is. If people do not believe it, it has no possibility of success.
All transformation starts with one person. If there is one person who believes in the values that formed the foundation of the strategy, he or she will give meaning to it by ‘living it’. If one person lives the example by taking actions based upon the common principles, new possibilities will appear … There is nothing more contagious than someone who sees and uses new possibilities. Not as an opportunist, but in the spirit of the values and the purpose. Living the values from inside out, in contrast to the values being forced upon from outside in.”
“While we still deal with top-down cultural change at work and at home, the degrees of freedom have dramatically shifted … The future isn’t so much about absorbing or tolerating change, it’s about making change.”
“Leaders and change agents cannot stay behind and just crawl behind everyone else, and change their behavior only after everybody else has already done so. They need to lead the change.
This puts massive pressure on a leader or a manager in this new era. As a person he or she has to be more nimble, more agile and more open-minded; more critical towards their own personal behavior, have higher tolerance for uncertainty and own unflinching belief for what you are doing. Not to forget the high moral and ethical standard and living up to your values and demonstrating that every single day.”