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Leadership. There must be thousands of blogs, articles and books written about it. It's certainly front of mind for almost anyone who works in a team.

However, being an effective leader today is implicated by the inter-generational workplaces that are emerging. Where Baby Boomers and Gen Zeds, who have different expectations, learning habits and communication styles, collide.

By Ashley Fell

Our research shows that the ideal manager is one who values communication and creates an environment of transparency and respect for staff.

Particularly for the emerging generations, their preferred leadership style is one that is more consensus than command, more participative than autocratic, and more flexible and organic than structured and hierarchical.

Here are 5 tips on how to lead people, your team or your organisation, so that people will follow.

1. Prioritise people

Leaders prioritise culture and build it within their organisation. By knowing your purpose (that is, what you do and why you exist) you can instil this into your team, and lead with a values-based vision.

2. Be collaborative

The best leaders intersect the differing levels of their organisation to make a cohesive and united team. While you might have senior leaders, managers and executives within an organisation, leaders bring these roles together to create alignment under the one vision.

3. Focus on the positives

Leaders focus on the positives, spread words of affirmation and celebrate the wins within their team. When things don't go to plan, leaders initiate a culture of focusing on the positives, and using the negatives for improvement.

4. Shape the culture

Effective leaders shape a culture of participation, not isolation. Collaboration is key for 21st Century organisations, and by utilising the different skill sets and talents within a team, leaders will not only find more effective solutions and ideas but also bring out the potential in the members of their team.

5. Be proactive, not reactive

Leaders are proactive, not reactive. A proactive leader is one who sees opportunities or potential, and acts to make effective change, rather than waiting to respond. They are not victims of change but rather see the trends, shape a response and create the future.

So in a world of flat structures and consultative practices, it is leaders who coach and mentor rather than command and control, who understand and connect with their teams who will see people follow them.

Ashley Fell, Head of Communications at McCrindle 

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