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7 ways to grow your next generation of leaders

Here’s a fact that might surprise you: by 2025 Millennials will make up about 75 percent of the workforce!

That means Millennials (born early 1980s to mid 1990s) will be recruiting, onboarding, training, and coaching your future leaders - Generation Z. Generation Z (born mid-1990’s to mid-2000’s) form the base of new employees who are either just entering organizations, or will be in the next 7-10 years.

What are you doing to prepare your Millennial leaders as they move into more senior, more influential roles? This will help...

Here are 7 practical ways to grow your leaders and nurture your next generation of leaders:

1. Offer real work experience

Nothing compares to real world experience, like an internship or volunteering. When you open your doors to younger generations, your firm gets exposure and your leaders get experience teaching and coaching.

Start by partnering with academic institutions including high schools to offer internships - investing in talents of the next generation and preparing students for the realities of life. Initially, your internship could be as simple as operating live chat after hours, or running and hosting events.

If a higher skill level is needed, college and university students can add temporary workforce capacity when needed, especially during busy periods.

2. Be wary of stereotypes

For too long, Millennials have been stereotyped as “lazy” and “entitled”. The reality is your future leaders can be just as enthusiastic and optimistic as your current ones. As an employer, your job is to create the environment and opportunities to draw out the best in your people.

Seek to understanding what motivates people to be excellent, and providing a healthy work environment with pathways to ongoing, progressive skill development.

3. Embrace technological prowess

Children of the 1980s and early 1990s were born into an exciting time, reaching the age of majority as the Internet was becoming widely available and consumer technology became affordable.

One generation later, Gen Z kids were born wearing, being entertained by and learning through technology. They are the first generation of digital natives.

Future leaders will be using technology (and money?) that doesn’t exist yet. They can also be your early adopters - testing new tools that can lead to cost savings, efficiencies - even improved service quality.

4. Invest in your employees

When you think of Apple, Google, Zappos, AirBNB, or Amazon you likely picture a work environment and culture that promotes creativity and ownership. All of those companies invest in their people because they can measure a positive return on those investments. (Remember they have the resources to evaluate and refine their professional development strategies.)

Top performing companies set the stage for high performance. They understand the value of investing in teamwork, communication and social responsibility.

5. Provide opportunities to develop responsibility

Everybody wants to work, contribute and feel the pride that comes from a job well done. Young employees are no different—they want the chance to show what they can do.

Micromanaging smart, engaged employees is a quick way to demotivate them, and stifle growth. When you provide interesting work, problem solving opportunities, and the responsibility to make decisions you develop new leaders.

6. Invest in professional development

As the adage goes, the only thing constant is change itself. And as leaders we need to embrace change by nurturing agile, innovative problems solvers, and continuous learning.

It’s the responsibility of today’s leaders to spark a spirit of curiosity in future leaders and to celebrate new ideas (even if wrong).

Investing in people is good business. Professional development, through formal training, online self-directed learning, mentoring and coaching, proves you are investing in your next generation of leaders.

7. Encourage face-to-face

In our digital, online, instant world it’s useful to remember that sometimes simple strategies, like face-to-face meetings and phone calls are actually better.

Younger generations need to be encouraged to use all of their communication channels - even something as old-fashioned as meetings.

Recent research at Google revealed that honesty is a driving factor of high performing teams. Honesty could show up as something as simple as putting your hand up and speaking your mind. Not emailing, texting, or messaging in Slack—speaking up in a meeting.

Ultimately, building your future leaders is up to you. The goal is for people joining your organization to become exemplary contributors, paving the way for them to lead today and in the future.

Contact me at Rosalyn.arntzen@amaxra.com or call 425 749 7471 if you have any questions or comments on this blog.

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