Young Leaders

Thursday, April 6, 2017

In my work with Mohawk College Enterprise, I meet the leaders of many organizations as well as emerging leaders; including the participants of our Future Ready Leadership program. I have noticed that, in many cases, leaders are getting younger. It is exciting to see and it will be interesting to witness how they will change the role of leadership. I decided to talk to a few local young leaders to see how they feel about the impact their generation will have on the workplace.

Marie Nash, Communications and Events Manager, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, says millennials will increasingly want to use tech-based tools to manage. “Older generations may also be challenged by our lack of a structured and traditional work day, in favour of a flex schedule that I find more millennials thrive on,” she says. “In addition, older generations tend to feel that employees must ‘pay their dues’ and that promotions should be based on time put in, whereas millennial leaders place emphasis on education and results.” Andrea Pohlmann is an account manager with RevUp Group and Secretary of the Hamilton Hive, which facilitates a collaboration of networks and resources between organizations and individuals to enhance the young demographic in Hamilton. She says millennials take a more team-oriented approach to leadership than we've seen the past. “Millennials tend to be leaders instead of bosses,” she says. “So I think as millennials grow into leadership roles, we're going to see more of that style of leadership - people leading by doing more rather than leading by instructing.” Alyssa Lai, Digital Marketing Coordinator at Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation and past Chair of the Hamilton Hive, says leaders, regardless of their age, will need to adopt a “listen and learn" attitude to motivate and engage their employees of all ages.

Leaders will also need to foster understanding and break down barriers that prevent learning and collaboration across generations. “The impact on older professionals will be an attitudinal shift that nudges them to rethink millennial stereotypes and what work means in today’s economy,” she says. “It’s a myth to think that older workers will be pushed out as millennials dominate the workforce. Older, established professionals have a lot to offer as they can work with millennials to navigate a workplace environment and culture.” “As millennials take the lead, there is an even greater opportunity for two-way mentorship and learning where established professionals can pick up new skills from their younger colleagues. I think we stand to benefit from one another when age is removed from the equation and everyday conversation; we can start to focus on the values that motivate one another to thrive in their roles.” - Audie McCarthy, President & CEO, Mohawk College Enterprise