For Millennials - General Observations Regarding the Book "Think and Grow Digital" By Joris Merk-Benjaminsen
Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF):
I think its an excellent read regarding approaches and skills required for 21st Century Leaders.
I also think "Think and Grow Digital" does very well in describing what Millennials are looking for as they break into the job and career market.
In terms of the book providing an accurate assessment of how older generations think and view of the world...I don't necessarily agree with the observations of Joris. I'm not saying he is wrong, I'm simply saying not all leaders from older generations view the world from such a self-protectionist and controlling optic.
Joris does an outstanding job describing what many people in organizational leadership are learning at the master's level of education and in their leadership experiences in the United States. Collaborating and serving teams is rapidly replacing the outdated image of a leader simply ordering and directing teams. Organizations need to be flat, not necessarily to be efficient, but to be adaptive. This is not a millennial observation, it's a cross-generational leader observation.
To be collaborative, serving, adaptive, the leader must have credibility. Credibility is based on a combination of competence, integrity, inspiration and vision. Credibility gives one freedom of movement because trust has been established.
The most treasured form of competence is not necessarily based on technical knowledge, but on having social intelligence shape relationships and mobilize a group of people toward a shared goal, or set of goals.
Leaders need to have integrity, not only in being honest, but in being humble enough to turn the reigns over to people (younger or older) who can best lead the organization to achieving its vision. The leader in this sense shapes and facilitates the environment to enable whatever generational leader needs to get the job done. Leadership in this instance is situational. There still can be a primary leader for purposes of accountability and some semblance of organizational structure, but the actual means and modes to achieve certain objectives require the most capable people to surface and lead the team toward success.
Inspiration, the ability to motivate people and to give people a sense of purpose and/or enjoyment in doing what they do is another trait. My half-century worth of life experience has taught me that inspiring people tend to draw the best response from me...I'm usually willing to go the extra mile, just so I don't disappoint that person. A sense of loyalty and camaraderie develops.
Vision...the ability to be able to identify a course of action in the face of uncertainty is a hard quality to find in leaders, but it is a quality that older generations, as well as millennials hope to find. We all want to sense of purpose in our lives; we all generally want to be a part of something big and productive.
Joris's description about what millennials are looking for in the work environment is generally the same for older generations. We want to be around leaders. Leadership does not necessarily lay in one person, but leadership can be situational. And, older generations often do want to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Recommended Reading Sources:
Think and Grow Digital: What the Net Generation Needs to Know to Survive and Thrive in Any Organizations
The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations