Technology has a huge impact on the way Gen Y thinks about work and leadership.
Former GE CEO Jack Welch once said: “Generation Y is the most exciting group in the world. They want to do their own thing, they want to change the world. Technology’s changed so fast. The internet’s come; they can do it.”
Olaf Swantee, CEO of Everything Everywhere (EE), a telecommunications company, quotes Welch in his recent post on LinkedIn.
Swantee says there are three characteristics that are shared by the tech-savvy leaders of tomorrow:
1. They are collaborative decision-makers.
“Having access to a wide network of expert collaborators will become crucial, as more views will be required for decision-making,” says Swantee. The future leaders will need to be connected, able to get along with others, and express their views in a way that’s easy to understand.
2. They are flexible and able to connect on a personal level.
Swantee says: “Gen Y leaders work to shape the business to suit its talent as much as they shape talent to the business. The workplace, working practices, and tools of business will become much more personal and customisable … The working environment will become more flexible and human.”
Gen Y-ers grew up with technology and are able to interact with professionals in their networks on a more personal level compared to previous generations.
3. They are prepared to challenge the status quo.
“They are passionate about fast progress, innovation and entrepreneurship. Speed of decision-making will become paramount in a wider variety of businesses. Access to data and insight will become real time in order to support ‘fast twitch’ responses to problems and exploitation of opportunities,” he says.
Again, a lot of this has to do with Gen Y growing up with technology and witnessing how fast companies and industries change. These younger workers know that they need to change quickly and strategically if they want to stay ahead of the game.
“Gen Y leaders carry their experiences as employees into senior roles,” says Swantee. “They do not adapt their style to that of the previous Baby Boomer generation in order to conform to the management group they have joined. Gen Y influence is growing and businesses stand to benefit greatly from this inclusive, diverse, flexible, and transformational working environment that they will bring to the leadership ranks.”
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