A couple weeks ago, we took a motorcycle for a ride to a popular 2009 pilgrimage. Yes, this would be to Bethel, NY for the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. While it was an enlightening opportunity and the people of Bethel have a great job restoring the grounds and presenting the museum, it reminded me of an old blog posting titled “Freeze.”
Leaders, stop! Freeze! Close your eyes. Go back for just a moment to 1969, or whenever you were entering the workforce. Do you think for a moment that the leaders of American industry were feeling comfortable about turning over the keys to us? Not likely. Well, they did and we are in charge. Some might argue, but it seems like we are doing an ok job. We are now ready because people took chances and put us in charge of projects, programs, work groups and teams to learn the leadership skills we need. We made early mistakes and learned from them.
We need to do the same with the Gen X and Y’s on our teams. You might believe your hands are tied by Human Resources or some other authority. They are guidelines and expect you to select the most qualified candidates. It is absolutely critical we follow our respective selection processes and select the best qualified candidate, but it is up to us to develop the skills to make these teammates ready. I personally disagree when people generalize that these folks are not loyal. They are loyal to being challenged, and it is our job to keep them stretched beyond what they even think is possible. This is fun stuff if you change your paradigm on what is possible.
Do you have an example of a Gen X and Y that over delivered in a leadership role?”