8. Seeking wisdom and mentors.
Overall, I sense that 20- and 30-somethings are highly willing to be mentored and are hungry for wisdom from older leaders around them. Those of us Gen X’ers tend to think we have it all figured out. Millenials and Gen Y are assumed to have it all figured out because they have so many tools and technology at their fingertips. But from what I’ve experienced, they still are seeking wisdom just as much as any other generation before them.
9. At the end of the day, a humble and authentic leader will “win” in the long run.
Many times in our 20s and in our culture, being “loud,” aggressive, “win now,” arrogant, and transactional will get you big results fast. But over the long term, people would much rather partner and work with leaders who are humble, authentic, relational, win/win focused, and not always thinking about themselves. Being real and being generous wins.
10. WHO you are working with is just as important as WHAT you are working on.
One of the major things I’m learning in my 30s: The journey is much more fun when you are working and locking arms with those you love being around. This is incredibly important to the next generation of leaders. It’s all about community and a sense of family.
11. We need to understand each other.
Pursue us- we’re not in it for the long haul anymore. Forty and under leaders in general are more about projects than they are about careers. More about movements instead of organizations. So if you want to keep us around in your organization, you’re going to have to pursue us. Show us you are approachable and connected to where we are in life. Understand us- make an effort to be in touch with our generation. Listen to us. It doesn’t mean you have to dress like us (not all the time anyway!!), but when you make a concerted effort to be in touch with what we are in touch with, it makes a huge difference. We’re motivated by making a difference and being part of something bigger than ourselves.
12. Every leader still wants to be developed.
Train, inspire, and connect us. Train us- once you’ve got us on your team, pour into us. We may not show it, but we truly desire to be mentored, and we need wise sages and mentors who will train us up. Constantly look for ways to pass on your insights to us. We are hungry for mentors and are open to you passing on your wisdom. And not just your successes and the things you’ve done right- we want to know what you’ve failed at, both to make you “human” as well to learn from your experience so we won’t make the same mistakes.
13. Inspire us and cast vision for us.
Motivate us through painting a picture of where we are headed. Lead us. But don’t manage us. Managing to you means something completely different than it does to us. You were schooled on the management theories of the ’80s. Major generation gap here. And a source of lots of tension that is difficult to manage. Connect us too. we are drawn towards community and relational networks through which we can make an impact and affect change. Community is incredibly important to us, in any context. We want to climb the hill together, not by ourselves.
14. Kick us out.
Release us- literally, kick us out. Not only give us permission to leave, but actually encourage us to leave and pursue other things. Once it’s time for us to move on, we might need your encouragement to pursue what God might be stirring up in us. Especially during the last couple of years, when it was much easier to just hang on than to really let go and chase after our dreams. We’re not leaving because we’re “giving up” on your vision; we just want to make ours a reality.