Successful Companies Must Encourage Gen Y to Lead

I could probably spend a whole day annoying people about all the things that I’m passionate about. But since most people have an average attention span of about 2.7 seconds, I won’t do that.

Instead, here’s a list of my top three interests:

  • Leadership
  • Youth Development
  • Food

Yes, I freaking like food, okay?

But this isn’t a post about food.

It’s about the fact that employers are doing a terrible job cultivating proper leadership within their organizations.

I have a problem with the fact that organizations don’t start leadership training sooner.

Don’t get me wrong, many companies have wonderful on boarding programs that aim to teach new leaders how to handle conflict and how to deal with difficult employees (like me, sometimes).

But here’s the problem…

Professionals are being taught how to be leaders at the time when they’re already expected to fill these roles.

What organizations should be doing is training individuals how to lead BEFORE they’re in leadership positions.

This will allow them to be more successful.

Come on, people. Let’s be proactive, not reactive. Would that be so bad?

As a young professional in the workforce, it’s frustrating to see that knowledge in general is usually reserved for the “elite”… for supervisors and above.

How annoying is that?

Very.

Look, as a member of Gen Y, I know that we have a tendency to annoy those older and more experienced than us because we’re seen as hungry and ambitious when we enter the workforce.

I get it.

But the beautiful thing about many of us young professionals is that we WANT TO LEARN.

So if you’re smart, you’ll teach us.

Leadership seminars are great. I find them quite interesting. But more often than not, this is the attitude held by most organizations. “Oh, there’s a leadership training? Sorry, you can’t go. You’re not a supervisor. You’re not a manager. Maybe next year.”

Okay. So we’re not yet in leadership positions. We’re not supervisors. We’re not managers. We’re not the CEO. We don’t own this place.

But that doesn’t mean that we’re not leaders.

And most importantly, it doesn’t mean that there’s no value in preparing us to lead, before we fill those positions.

Tell me, would you train a surgeon how to perform a procedure while his patient is bleeding out on the operating room table?

Not so much.

The same principle applies to leadership development.

Strong leadership is what sets great organizations apart from the rest. It’s the difference between engaged employees and employees that hate their lives and make everyone else miserable because of it.

For this reason, we can’t afford to wait until employees fill leadership positions to teach them how to be leaders.

There’s too much at stake.

Successful organizations understand this. They understand the value of leadership at all levels. And most importantly, they understand the importance of developing and investing in young workers.

 

For this post, YouTern thanks Gen Y Girl!

About the Author: Kayla Cruz graduated college at the age of 20 with a degree in Health Services Administration. She is currently working as a Regulatory Coordinator in Clinical Research while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration specializing in Human Resources. She has found she’s most passionate about helping young professionals navigate through their first few years as GenYers in the workforce. Follow Kayla on Twitter!


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