This is the second blog in a two-part series.
In my last blog on leaders, I pointed out how you can be a boss — as in someone who people report to — without being a leader, meaning someone who you want to follow. But what if you’re not in a leadership position yet? If you’re still a “follower,” you may wonder if your boss is the right person on which to model your own strategy and decision making. But
The other day, a friend of mine told me about a new employee at her office. The woman on first glance was just another twenty-something new hire with what my friend called “appropriate business look”. Apparently the woman had an unremarkable hairstyle in a natural-looking colour (“no streaks of purple or green”), simple jewelry (“only her ears were pierced”), and a tailored, silk blouse. At the meeting, she was articulate and well-informed on the subject matter, with insightful questions and useful ideas. Then, when she raised her hand to make a point . . .she revealed a sleeve
As we round out the second decade of the 21st century, employers are pretty confident that they are finally comfortable with The Millennial Employee. More or less. Like the Y2K fears that entered corporate corridors just before them, they seemed a uniquely turn-of-the-century phenomenon that we only knew we could not fully prepare for.
It turned out that our systems were much more forward compatible than their humans – when’s the last time you heard about the Y2K bug? – who have struggled for over a decade to fully understand and integrate Millennial employees.
To be fair, accommodating three such distinct generations brought unprecedented challenges. So, let’s try four. Because Gen Z has started entering the workforce — and is coming to an interview near you. Are you prepared for Gen Z employees?
At one point in the Disney animated film Peter Pan the Lost Boys sing:
Following the leader, the leader, the leader. We’re following the leader wherever he may go. Tee dum, tee dee, A teedle ee do tee day, Tee dum, tee dee. It’s part of the game we play.
Did you ever wonder if there are rules for following the leader? In the game of business is there opportunity for a differentiated playbook when you are follower? Or, should you just ‘keep your head down and do as you are told?’
I was curious about this so I
I want to tell you a story about two leaders I worked with back when I was a management consultant. They were peers and senior leaders in the same company. Both were in similar roles and in charge of very large teams. We will call them James and Richard. Made-up names, for sure, but their story is very real. In fact it is a story that I saw regularly played out in clients across the world. The story doesn’t end happy or sad, but billions of dollars were lost and I learned a valuable distinction about success in business that I want