Dr. Pallab Bandyopadhyay
Director-HR, Citrix Systems
Dr. Pallab Bandyopadhyay currently heads the country HR function for India for both R&D and S... more>>
Gen Y today wants to feel significant. They are ready to work very hard, provided they see an avenue to reach their goals in life. In some sense they are all knowledge workers. It means that they want to get an opportunity to put their knowledge into use in their day-to-day job function. It is in this context the leaders in todays organizations must understand what drives these GEN Y knowledge workers.One of the key drivers for them is opportunity to learn new skills in actual job situations. Therefore they would want leaders who can facilitate them to learn, while working with them.What else drive them? They are more IT-Savvy and therefore want access to information, especially those which can enable them to not only network with fellow professionals more efficiently but to acquire knowledge that can help them to contribute more significantly in solving business problems. Challenging assignment coupled with meaningful and data based feedback are some of the tools that can be used by leaders to influence them. The traditional yearly annual appraisal might not work for them.
Gen Y in India favors equity as opposed to equality and therefore want to get recognized by being paid competitively. Finally everybody wants to be a part of a winning team. Kouzes and Posner described them as "Creating Small Wins". Leaders need to create opportunities for many and also plan them in such a way that by achieving them they feel more accomplished and thereby feeling more significant. For managing Gen Y thats the manta for effective leaders. I am trying to put forward some simple actions that I believe can help todays leaders in effectively managing Gen Y teams. These simple yet profound actions will help them to excel in what they do and distinguish themselves from others.
1) Having a Shared Purpose to mobilize others and work together for achieving it.
Most of the effective leaders have their personal purpose. However, at the same time they realize that it is much easier to achieve a "Shared Purpose" rather than ones own. This is the process where they manifested their leadership capabilities in terms of articulating their purpose in such a way that the people start seeing meaning into it and accept it as their own. Leadership researcher Ramnarayan, while studying successful Indian leaders called them "Dream Merchants".
2) Using personal network to seek insight into organization problems
Building a strategic personal network and successfully using it, as a relatively safe way to expose organizational problems and seek insight into solutions is a hallmark of effective leaders. Personal networks are largely external, made up of discretionary links to people with whom leaders have something in common. In modern day business it serves as a safe sounding board for a leader to use as an internal learning network. What makes a personal network powerful is its power to provide a safety net while learning by introspecting, reflecting and observing from others about unique organizational problems.
3) Institutionalizing innovative systems and processes
One of the roles played by the leaders that make them differentiated are their ability to introduce innovative systems and processes in their respective organizations. But more importantly, over time they institutionalize them to make it a part and parcel of the organizational life. High Tech strategy experts Annabelle Gawer and Michal A Cusumano revealed in their bestselling book "Platform Leadership" how Intel, Microsoft an Cisco leaders created number of innovative systems and processes involving external vendors to remain competitive.
4) Empowering people - helping them to move from a sense of powerlessness to discover their own sense of efficacy and power.
Believe in peoples ability is what sustains extra ordinary team efforts. The effective leaders are those who nurture self- esteem in others. They make others feel strong, capable and move them from a sense of powerlessness to a state where they start believing their own capability. Leadership researchers believed that the effective leaders become institution builder by carrying people with them even when they seem to feel powerless.
5) Leaving beyond Organization Identity
One of the biggest problems with lot of leaders is the deep insecurity about their own identity. Leaders often get so hooked up with organizational functions that they literally feel out of die when those functions are taken away from them. As leaders one should not live in constant apprehension at the thought of what will happen if their institutional identity were ever to disappear. Jack Welch successfully transitioned his career into business writing, speaking and consulting after his eventful transformational journey at GE.
So what are you thinking? Leadership is all about influencing, and we all have an inherent capacity to choose to build a new vision for ourselves, to start following a different course, to let go something which we thought we will never do, embrace something which we probably was never comfortable with. But when we do these things, which are guided by a purpose we all excel and metamorphose ourselves from an individual contributor to a true leader, perhaps thats what Gen Y are looking for?
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