Leading the Y’s

Leading the Y’s

Leading the Y’s


Do you know what Gen Y’s ideal boss is? Are you it? Remember your boss could be a Gen Y’r themselves. So what the new workforce consider a good leader?


1. Above all, A Mentor.

To be a mentor/coach you need to invest in your team. Feeling valued and appreciated is the top work aspiration for Generation Y and having a strong mentorship from higher management is paramount for success. Alex Ferguson was a master at this. ‘Fergies Fleglings’ and the Class of ’92 are prime examples of investment in youth and a long term career path initiated at an early stage. Of the more famous of Fergies Fledlings, Ryan Giggs is the most decorated English domestic player of all time and is now assistant manager at Manchester United. Gary Nevill holds the second highest appearances for a defender at the club and was the club captain for 6years. He is now the England national soccer team’s assistant coach. David Becham is one of the most recognisable faces in the world has played for Real Madrid, Millan, PSG. Beckham was his countries captain for six years and holds the record for most outfield appearances in an English shirt. Paul Scholes, who retired in 2010, came back to play for United in 2012 when there was an injury crisis at midfield and had the highest successful passrate of the season. They all have multiple Premiership medals, FA Cup, Champions League medal and other accolades. They also were all mentored, minded and modeled by Ferguson. So maybe Generation Y is right to want a strong mentor. That’s what great mentors do: they expand your sense of possibility and positively challenge your sense of self.  They understand that if you want to grow, you have to stretch. So they don’t just help you along your path. They illuminate journeys you never knew you could take.


2. A leader

The latest generation of workers will be responsible for developing, leading and driving economies around the world. Leaders who can motivate, understand the content and are fair will be by far the most desirable skills needed to be successful. Not only must one be calm amidst the storm but one must know when to interrupt tranquillity with a tempest and pour every ounce of himself into everything they say and do. A strong leader must exhort others to follow in their walk. Paul O’Connell is a perfect example of this. It is said that ‘ You know when he talks, he’s speaking the truth and he has the experience to back it up. You quickly take on board what he tells you’. He takes control and has pride in his character. A natural leaders skills will always be needed however Gen Y wants something else from their learners. They don’t want someone there to merely allocate different task but someone who is knowledgeable so they can leverage off their experience. Leaders must be prepared to have a more rounded set of interpersonal skills. Paul O’Connell was undoubtedly an extremely successful leader but never did he shy away from his on-field duties. In fact, his heroics on the pitch only added to his credibility as a new type of leader.


3. Transparent.

Honesty is the best policy. Sharing business information, profits of the company, ideas and plans for the future with the entire workforce is something that Gen Y value. A collaborative working environment is essential, along with support in furthering their careers through added learning. Top four are often ahead of the curve; did you know that one of the firms are now beginning to mentor graduates even before they have joined the organization officially? Here bosses will have to understand that an advisor/friend type boss is something that is now desirable. A friend/confidante seems to be the ideal, someone that can discuss private matters as well as work issues. This is a huge shift, being an advisor can make a big difference to companies retaining their staff and growing their business organically.


Remember we are entering Generation Y’s workforce. If companies don’t adapt they will be left behind. Change is here and change is growth. The right leadership in any business can bring benefits, but the correct model in place in a company will attract the most sought after Gen Y talent and by embracing what the new generation is looking for in their leaders, companies can retain the best talent.

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