Many of the commonly held beliefs of the past 30 years, about how businesses should be run, and how people should be led, are being challenged by the now up and coming leaders. Add to this the technology changes in a globally connected world, and a serious re-think of the rules of the game becomes necessary.
We are now seeing the generation who have grown up as digital natives becoming leaders of our businesses. They are much more intuitive about what we need to do to survive and thrive in the new world of business. They also have different expectations of work, which calls for different leadership.
The new generation care about different things, they are better connected, educated, and expect different things. According to the author Dan Pink:
Millennials want FAIRNESS – pay a fair wage, in line with the value of the work, and find other incentives to reward them, rather than linear bonuses. Focus on the work, not the money.
Millennials want AUTONOMY – leadership creates engagement and self-direction. Management is about compliance and control, not something the Millennials respond well to.
Millennials want MASTERY – making progress in meaningful work leads to motivation. They want to know how their work contributes, what difference it makes. This is highly dependent on FEEDBACK. They are used to instant measurement and feedback, often highly personalized. Just think of the games they play and the virtual communities they participate in.
Millennials want PURPOSE – tell people WHY they need to do stuff. Millennials want to know they are doing something that matters. Have “why” conversations. Tear down the wall between the back office and the customer. If work becomes meaningful, there is a better connection with co-workers, and stress is managed better. Optimum performance comes from a balance of perceived resources and perceived demands.
They are more likely to give you their trust and discretionary effort if they like you, trust you, and understand your own motivations. A recent article even suggested that Gen Z candidates have a need to build a personal connection with an employer before even choosing to work there.
All this is down to Emotional Capital, something leaders have been shown to have more of than the general population. It is what sets apart leaders from managers and effective from less effective leaders. Emotional Capital is more about how you turn up as a leader. Not what you know, but about how you behave.
Without it, you are more likely to be a manager than a leader, and I am not talking job titles. Leaders engage others, motivate other, create willing followership.
You wouldn’t choose to ignore a data stream when making decisions. Emotions are a form of data – ignore them at your peril.
People will give you their trust and co-operation based on what they feel. They may not remember what you said to them, but they will remember how you made them feel.
One of the core skills of Emotional Capital is Empathy. It is also core to the human condition. Studies show that we are born to be empathetic. We apply empathy naturally to those closest to us. It is core to motivation, influence and even buying behavior.
We use ourselves as a point of reference to interpret what others want. This worked well in the past when we lived in a world surrounded by “people like us”. It is no longer a useful departure point in the diverse global world in which we operate.
Emotional Capital is even more important when dealing with people with diverse expectations, such as the new generation of leaders.