• 07.31.08

Leadership Qualities We Need to Develop in Gen Y Leaders

Throughout my entire life I have been a huge sports fan.

Throughout my entire life I have been a huge sports fan. Although football has always been my favorite sport, the sport that I was best at in high school was basketball.Due to my desire in high school to be the best basketball player in the school, I would take time daily to study several different types of basketball players during my years as a teenager. One of the main basketball players that I studied the most was Michael Jordan. Of all the amazing things that one could learn from Michael Jordan, one of the greatest lessons that I learned from Michael Jordan was his desire to always get better. In essence, even though he was the greatest player in the NBA, he would still spend time in the off-season working on new parts of his game so that he can become that much better. Ironically, becoming a person that constantly works to be better each day was not only a principle of success for me learn about in sports, but it was a lesson for me to learn about in life as a leader and person. Like Michael Jordan, I believe there is an extremely great amount of gifted, talented, and special young men and women from Generation Y. However, if these highly intelligent, tech savvy, and amazing individuals are going to be effective leaders in the future for several different businesses and organizations, I personally believe that there are some key leadership principles that must be developed within our generation in order for us to reach high levels of success as leaders in the future. These leadership principles that I plan to list are not the only leadership principles that need to be addressed, but they are four key leadership principles that I have been able to personally identify in my research, conversations, and personal experiences with young men and women who are part of Generation Y.Leadership Principle #1Patience As a young ambitious man growing up in Northern California, one of the things my grandmother used to always tell me is, “Patience is a Virtue” and “Rome was not built Overnight”. After a few years of experience out of college, I have found these words to be more powerful for me personally than before because I have learned that great and valuable things in life require lots of patience and perseverance. Unfortunately, for a generation that has grown up in a culture and society that offers several different things instantly, waiting ten or fifteen years for their dream to become a reality will be much more harder than previous generations and that’s why I believe patience is a leadership quality that must be developed in various leaders of Generation Y.Leadership Principle #2Great Character One of the greatest lessons that I have learned personally about great leaders is that many have fallen throughout history because of bad character. Bad character to me is basically acting opposite of what is expected of you as a leader in a certain position of power and authority. For instance, as a preacher, you are exemplifying great character when you act according to the bible whereas a businessman who is not Christian may be considered someone who has great character for doing what is ethically required in his profession even though the laws of his business may not line up with the Bible. The same concept is true when you compare an athlete to politician because an athlete is required to give 100% to his sport daily whereas a politician can go five years without touching a basketball and still be considered someone that has great character. For an athlete, this would not be true if the athlete has made a commitment to his team to become the best basketball player possible. Unfortunately, great character is something that must be developed over time and that’s why I believe character development is something that must be taught to a variety of emerging leaders from Generation Y. Leadership Principle #3Knowledge of Self Although most people do not talk about knowledge of self being an important leadership principle, I personally believe its one of the most important leadership qualities to possess as a leader because knowledge of self enables you to understand yourself better, know what aspects of self you need to improve on, what areas to put forth 100% effort, and who to surround yourself with so that you can have an effective team within your business or organization. Many companies and organizations have failed because leaders chose the wrong people to lead various departments and people within the company became ineffective in their role because they were placed in areas that do not really maximize their true talents and abilities. If young men and women from Generation Y are going to be effective leaders in the future, I believe its crucial that businesses and organizations develop tools, assessments, and programs that help young men and women of this generation better understand themselves so that they can become more effective leaders in the future. Leadership Principle #4Experience Almost every great leader or company understands that success is not an overnight thing, but it’s a process that is developed over time with many successes and failures. Many of these successes and failures that occur within great companies and leaders develop wisdom, knowledge, and experience that cannot be taught in college. Although many have predicted Generation Y to be one of the greatest generations ever in American History, in order to make this prediction a reality, it’s going to take experience. Experience for these emerging leaders will require present leaders, organizations, businesses, and companies to challenge young men and women strategically with task that build this extremely important leadership principle. Once this experience is gained, I believe the sky is the limit for these emerging leaders within our culture and society. As I stated earlier, I do not believe these are the only leadership principles that need to be developed within young leaders from this emerging generation, but I do believe they are key leadership principles that will enable individuals from Generation Y to become great leaders.