Become the Leader of the Future By Doing These 6 Things

In our last blog we looked at how the worker of the future will need to grow and adapt to succeed in the new world of work. But what about their leaders? Doesn’t it make sense that their managers will need to grow and adapt right along with them and become leaders?

Yet in my experience managers, who all should be leaders of one sort or another, are often the slowest to respond to changes in employee behavior and culture! That’s why so much of my work is focused on helping the generations connect in the workplace – because many of the older generations still don’t “get” their millennial and Gen Z coworkers and employees!

But the younger generation isn’t going away and taking their new ideas about work with them – in fact, more than 35% and even closer to 50% of Americans in the workplace are millennials! So if you are a manager or boss with millennial and Gen Z employees, it is critical that you get this right with your team! You must master the following new leadership traits and immediately start putting them into practice so you can continue to crush the competition in the years to come:

 

Create Trust and Eradicate Mistrust

Bill Simmons, formerly of ESPN, famously remarked, “Leaders thrive when they feel creatively empowered, when they trust the people around them, when their confidence is swelling. Leaders make mistakes when they lose that same confidence, when they’re fretting about their power base, when they’re reacting instead of acting.” And while Simmons was talking about basketball, the point remains: great teams are built on trust. Period.

While trust is a two-way street, as a manager and leader it’s up to you to set the tone in the company. You need to consciously work to create trust so you can build authentic relationships with your people. If they don’t trust you, you’re going to have a hard time connecting. And if you can’t connect with them, you’re going to have a hard time trusting them in turn!

Employees, and especially younger employees, want to work where they feel valued and where they can trust the leadership of the people in charge. And leaders in turn want to feel like they have a solid team backing them up. Just as Bill Simmons has a great team of writers backing him up at the Bill Simmons Media Group, including many who followed him from ESPN.

Are you unknowingly breeding a culture of mistrust among your direct reports? Check out this list of The 25 Behaviors That Contribute to Mistrust and eradicate any that you’re guilty of. TODAY.

 

Give Real-Time, Real Deal Feedback

Your employees want to know you care. So ditch the annual review and make time to invest in them right in the moment and give them the feedback they crave. They want to know they’re doing a good job, but they also want to know if something needs to change.

Just be cautious of putting too much emphasis on the negative. Instead take a page from Tony Nicely, former CEO of Geico’s book: focus on your employee’s strengths and help build them up. In a 1992 article about Nicely, William Snyder, then the chairman and chief executive of Geico Corp, commented that, “He has a marvelous talent for dealing with people…he’s empathetic and he builds on people’s strengths rather than picking out their weaknesses.”

Always assume positive intent (API) when interacting with your people and help them be the best they can be! They have all have a story to share and they all want to connect, they just need you to show them how – remember there’s no school for becoming the worker of the future! And if you do need to have a tough conversation with them, use these tips:

  • Identify the problem
  • Attack the problem, not each other
  • Listen to, and acknowledge, others’ points of view
  • Focus on organizational goals and objectives
  • Listen as an ally to strategize for success

Focus on the Right Things

In the old world of work, an employee would be at their desk at 8:30am and stay until it was time to go home at 5pm. It didn’t matter if they finished all their work in an hour or it took them all day to do it. It also didn’t matter if the employee did their best work after 3pm. The work day was the work day and employees were expecting to be at their desk and “working”.

But as technology has evolved and allowed us to be increasingly connected, the idea that employees need to sit at their desk for a specified period of time has become less and less practical. So as managers, we need to shift our thinking to focus on the right things. Instead of worry about “how” things get done, we need to be looking at “what” is getting done. After all, an employee can sit down at their desk at 8:30am, turn in a mediocre report, and spend the rest of the day playing solitaire. Or they can spend all day doing the things they’re passionate about and turn in a rockstar report at 11pm when their creativity is at its peak.

In a memo to his team at Slack shortly before the preview release of the product, Stewart Butterfield said, “Life is too short to do mediocre work and it is definitely too short to build shitty things.” Don’t allow your employees and your company to fall into mediocrity by focusing on the wrong things. Make sure that what you’re measuring actually MATTERS!

 

Foster Open and Transparent Communication

Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, has often talked about the importance of communication in the workplace. She believes you “cannot over-invest in communication skills.” And of her own communication style, she had said, “I’m brutally honest. I always look at things from their point of view as well as mine.” But Nooyi’s not all talk: during her twelve-year tenure at Pepsi, the company’s sales grew by 80%!

The worker of the future needs you to communicate with them openly and authentically. To be brutally honest! The days of org charts and companies saying one thing to their customers and another thing to their employees is over. We are now too connected to ever treat our employees with anything other than radical honesty and to force them to follow a hierarchical structure of communication. And with our increased access to knowledge and learning through the Internet, we are ALL capable of coming up with and presenting new ideas that can change the direction of the company for the better.

 

Encourage Learning and Experimentation

Which brings me to my next point: as a manager in the new world of work you need to encourage your employees to learn and experiment and actually lead. ABL: Always Be Learning! With as much access as we have to information, if you as a manager rely only on your individual knowledge to make decisions for the team and company, you will be crushed by your competition.

You need to encourage your employees to learn and grow so that they can bring their ideas back to the company. We’ve previously written about Google, but it bears repeating again: Google has famously allowed its employees to devote 20% of their work time to passion projects related to the company. Whether or not 20% time is still practiced is up for debate, but what can’t be ignored is that 20% time brought two of Google’s best-loved products to life: Gmail and Adsense.

You must encourage your employees to learn and grow. With the world changing as fast as it is, to not allow space for new ideas to develop and emerge is a mistake. The fact is, your employees are often spending more face time with your customers than you are! They know exactly what your clients want so it’s time you listened to them!

 

Stop Trying to Control Everything and Everyone

Most managers love control. They want to control the company, its projects, and its people. They believe that if they can manage to hang onto everything, they will win in the long run.

But that just isn’t true. One, it’s incredibly exhausting. Two, it’s one of the behaviors that fosters mistrust in a team. And three, it doesn’t do the company any favors to have everything flow through such a narrow channel.

Instead, invest the time to train your people well and then trust them to do the job you’ve hired them to do. Yes, they’ll make mistakes and fall flat on their face occasionally. But you are not perfect either!

Just take a look at this story about Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors. In a previous leadership role in the Human Resources department, she dramatically scaled-down the dress code policy to just two words: Dress Appropriately. When she got pushback from a manager, she suggested he talk with his team to work out a solution. And wouldn’t you know it, but the team came up with a great solution that didn’t involve needing to expand the dress code policy.

Trust your people. You hired them, you trained them, now go let them do their job!

 

If you’re struggling with any of the managerial behaviors on this list, please reach out to us at launchbox. Your company needs you to grow and adapt. So invest in yourself and become the manager of the future!

The 25 Behaviors That Contribute to Mistrust

Want to build a business that wins in the future?

Figure out how to get the worker of the future to come work for you, KEEP working for you, and excel!

To do that, you need to start by creating trust and eradicating the causes of mistrust in your organization. Want to know what the 25 most common causes of mistrust are? Keep reading:

The 25 Behaviors That Foster Mistrust

  1. You fail to keep your promises, agreements and commitments.
  2. You serve your self first, and others only when it is convenient.
  3. You micromanage and resist delegating.
  4. You demonstrate an inconsistency between what you say and how you behave.
  5. You fail to share critical information with your colleagues.
  6. You choose to not tell the truth.
  7. You resort to blaming and scapegoating others rather than own your mistakes.
  8. You judge blame and criticize rather than offer constructive feedback.
  9. You betray confidences, gossip and talk about others behind their backs.
  10. You choose to not allow others to contribute or make decisions.
  11. You downplay others’ talents, knowledge and skills.
  12. You refuse to support others with their professional development.
  13. You resist creating shared values, expectations and intentions in favor of your own agenda; you refuse to compromise and instead foster win-lose arguments.
  14. You refuse to be held accountable by your colleagues.
  15. You resist discussing your personal life, allowing your vulnerability, disclosing your weaknesses and admitting your relationship challenges.
  16. You rationalize sarcasm, put-down humor and off-putting remarks as “good for the group.”
  17. You fail to admit you need support and don’t ask colleagues for help.
  18. You take others’ suggestions and critiques as personal attacks.
  19. You fail to speak up in team meetings and avoid contributing constructively.
  20. You refuse to consider the idea of constructive conflict and avoid conflict at all costs.
  21. You consistently hijack team meetings and move them off topic.
  22. You refuse to follow through on decisions agreed upon at team meetings.
  23. You secretly collude in back-door negotiations with other team members to create your own alliances.
  24. You refuse to give others the benefit of the doubt and prefer to judge them without asking them to explain their position or actions.
  25. You refuse to apologize for mistakes, misunderstandings and inappropriate behavior and dig your heels in to defend yourself and protect your reputation.

(This list was written by Dr. Peter Vajda and originally appeared on the Management-Issues website)

If you need help creating trust with your employees and getting rid of the behaviors that cause mistrust, reach out to us at launchbox for coaching! We’ll help get you on the right track so you can build a business that wins now and in the future.

Become, Attract, Create, and Retain the Worker of the Future!

Who is the most important person in a business? If you ask most experts, they’ll say it’s the customer. However, really great leaders like Richard Branson will tell you it’s the employee. Which is absolutely correct. After all, it’s always the employee that takes care of the customer and creates the experience that brings the customer back. So why, when we talk about the future of work and the workplace, do we leave out the most critical asset, the worker of the future?

Probably because training and building amazing employees is one of the hardest things in business. People and relationships are tough!

But don’t stop reading here. It’s one thing to know your employees are important and another thing to actually walk the talk and do the work to treat them that way. Your future success will depend on how well you can understand, train, and build your employees to become the worker of the future. In a 2018 talk at BetterUp Shift, Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte, told the audience that, “The future of work actually has little to do with technology, AI, or algorithms. It’s all about people, organizations, and how we manage people within these organizations.” And he’s absolutely right! People are people and they will always be the differentiator in growing our businesses.

So when we look ahead to the future, instead of asking ourselves questions like:

  • Will my job be obsolete in ten years time?
  • Is this booming business venture a momentary fad or something more?
  • Will a machine take my job?
  • If the workplace of the future changes drastically, will I be able to see it coming or will I be caught unaware?

Let’s focus on what we KNOW AND CAN control: our relationships with our people and how we can grow them to become the employees we need both now and in the future.

As Robert Bernard Shaw once said, “Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” Rather than worrying about what the workplace of the future or the future of work will be, let’s focus instead on creating the WORKER OF THE FUTURE from the inside/out with a few simple steps!

 

Who is the Worker of the Future?

In his book The Future of Work, Jacob Morgan argues that there are five emerging trends:

  • New behaviors shaped by social media and the web
  • Collaborative cloud technologies
  • New generations of workers with new attitudes, expectations, and ways of working
  • Greater ability to work from anywhere, anytime
  • Increased globalization and connection to diverse peoples

These trends aren’t just hypotheticals; they’re already permeating our workplaces and rapidly changing how we work. And not just in a few industries either. These workplace trends affect all of us, no matter who we are, where we are, or the type of work we do. To survive and thrive in the new future of work, we ALL must become the worker of the future. And we know that people are people and the thread is within: People are the workers of the future even when everything else changes around them. So, listen right here, right now. Universities, colleges, businesses, please, and I mean f*&^%n please, start creating the worker of the future by training them on themselves and relationships that add value to others.

So if you’re a worker (whether manager, front line, C- level) what will you do today to recreate yourself as that worker of the future? How will you navigate these trends? Who will you be while you’re doing that and how will you go about developing yourself to meet the challenge?

Here are a few tips:

  • Know yourself
  • Learn your story
  • Create trust
  • Build solid relationships, starting with yourself
  • LEARN and GROW: update all those skills you need to survive today.

And if you own or run a business, then figure out how to teach and train all your employees these methodologies. We all know they don’t come to you with them naturally, they’re not teaching them in college, and there’s no school on creating the worker of the future. So go ahead and beat the competition and be that for them!

 

What Skills Will the Worker of the Future Need to Succeed?

Aside from the technical skills needed to complete their work, the WORKER OF THE FUTURE will need other skills that I would argue are much more important. After all, technical skills are relatively easy to acquire and train. These other skills aren’t so easy to come by and require significantly more time and energy to develop.

  • The worker of the future must be:
  • Obsessed with learning and growing
  • Authentic and vulnerable with others
  • A great communicator
  • Knowledgable about what their “why” is and what they have to contribute to
  • others
  • Flexible
  • Innovative
  • Entrepreneurial (even if your ambition is more intrapreneurial in nature)
  • Collaborative
  • Self-motivated
  • Certain of who they are
  • Able to tell stories that connect
  • A leader
  • Trustworthy

Did you notice that the four skills at the top of the list are concepts we’ve been talking about for years?! As a matter of fact that is what we do and who we are. We believe are at the precipice of creating and building theWORKER OF THE FUTURE!

 

What Can I Do Now to Ensure I’m Becoming the Worker of the Future?

Whether you’re an employee who wants to ensure you always have a job, a manager who wants to keep climbing the career ladder, a freelancer who wants to make sure you’ll always be in-demand, or an entrepreneur who wants to build a business that people can’t get enough of, you need to start by ensuring YOU are becoming the WORKER OF THE FUTURE.

To do that, you start by focusing on yourself. Yes, you need to cultivate those thirteen skills on the list above, but you need to understand yourself first. Because you can’t help others and you can’t have the impact you want, without getting real about who you are, what your story is, and what you have to offer in the workplace.

If you’re serious about becoming, hiring and/or training the worker of the future, you need to invest in yourself now to make sure you will win in the years to come.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Focus on What You Can Control.
  2. Deepen Your Relationship With Yourself.
  3. Know Your Story and What You Have to Offer.
  4. Develop the Thirteen Worker of the Future Skills You Need for Success.
  5. Make it About Others.
  6. Always be Learning and Growing