Being a leader sounds glamorous, especially when the words associated with leadership are “inspire”, “guide” and “support”. Truthfully, being a leader is challenging. Sometimes it is easier to fall into being a “boss” who tells people what and how to do things, rather than coaching them like a good leader should.
Another challenge that I find as a millennial in a leadership role is the style in which I am expected to lead and manage. I like collaboration, inclusiveness and leading from a place of purpose. If you read up about us millennials you will read all sorts of things – things like we are lazy, entitled, and indecisive.
You will also read a lot about our good traits. We care about values, mental health, and respect. We like having options, working in a place of diversity and equality, and finding balance between work, home, and health. Millennials embrace
technology and enjoy convenience, which makes us impatient when there is slow customer service or thing's don’t work.
Being a leader in 2022 means that you will be working with different generations of people, from the Baby Boomers to the Gen Z’s, and they all have unique expectations from you as a leader.
In my short time being in a leadership role, I can share the following four lessons that have stood out for me:
The greatest asset of an organisation are the people who work there
I would say that the biggest part of a leader’s role is supporting their people. To me this has meant giving clear direction to staff on their role and expectations as well as sharing the organisation’s strategy. This is often easier said than done and may require a few conversations to give clarity and get on the same page. It is well worth it – once you have a team who is paddling in the same direction, things will be easier.
People are complex, and support also means taking notice of personal pressures, burnout, and other unusual behaviour. Taking some time to talk with your team and having an open-door policy opens communication channels and builds loyalty.
Although it may seem like it, not everything is urgent
This has been one of my toughest lessons. Going from an “output” role to a “directional” role means that you can’t be involved operationally, or you won’t have any time to look up and see where the ship is headed. This has meant that I need to spend time on the right things and not everything. It may be urgent, but is it important?
As leaders we need to be intentional about how we choose to spend our time and ensure that our top priorities are moving the needle towards the goals of the business. This ties in with learning to say “no”, setting boundaries and managing your time. I am still working on this and think I always will. It’s good practice to step back every now and then and see which areas you are focusing your energy on and then re-evaluating if this is still in line with your goals.
Listen to feedback – Ego won’t get you very far
This speaks for itself; we can’t know everything all the time and there is always opportunity to learn and improve. Ask for feedback, listen to feedback, and where required, act on it. This doesn’t mean that everyone’s opinion is important, you still need to distinguish from the noise and only take on constructive feedback that adds value. Having an ego about your position just makes things more difficult.
Be open and honest with your team
In order to improve communication and operations the team needs to have the right information. Being upfront builds trust and creates buy-in. We are operating in a very volatile environment where the market is changing all the time and businesses are required to react quickly to stay ahead of the curve. Change, however, is unnerving and requires transparency and improved communication to ensure that people feel secure in their roles.
I feel privileged to be able to learn these lessons (and more) and to hone my leadership skills along the way.
What are some lessons that you have learnt in your journey?
About Chartall Business College
Chartall Business College is an innovative and thoroughly modern provider of education and training. We use multiple modes of training delivery to enhance our course offering. We specialise in online learning and our goal is to create a
meaningful learning experience that is accessible to all.
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