Have you noticed a shift in thinking about leadership?
When I first entered the workforce many moons ago, people saw the heads of companies and organizations as tops in business acumen. The CEO knew best. The rest of us took our marching orders accordingly. If the CEO had any doubts about the decisions made, s/he never showed it nor did many of them ask for opinions. There was weakness in admitting failure or a lack of know-how.
Not today. Today we celebrate “failing fast.” We implore leaders to develop “soft skills” or “real” skills as Seth Godin wants to call them.
But if you think it’s just a passing fancy, these “softer” leaders, you’re probably wrong. A new report of Millennials and their view on leadership could be good news for the chamber industry.
What Millennials Think Leaders Should Be
The Divergent Views/Common Ground: The Leadership Perspectives of C-Suite Executives and Millennial Leaders by the Conference Board, Development Dimensions International, and RW2 Enterprises indicates that Millennials believe leaders should place a higher importance on interpersonal and interaction skills. They also favor informal employer-employee relationships. As for meetings, they want to see outcome-based accountability.
Why is this good news for chambers?
Chamber CEOs don’t work in ivory towers. They are approachable and if they don’t cultivate good interpersonal skills, they’ll be without a job. Their success is predicated on their ability to relate to people in the community. Often the smaller office staff in chambers does mean more informal employer-employee relationships.
The report also highlighted that Millennials want to stay with a job but only if they feel like they’re growing. This may be a challenge for chambers because there are often a limited number of roles available. However, growth doesn’t always need to mean a new job title. If you want Millennials to work for you, fostering professional growth opportunities for them will keep them from looking for greener pastures.
From a desired leadership perspective, Millennials seem to want a lot of what chambers are able to offer as an employer. The challenge is in helping members of Gen Y see it.