Jan 12th 2024: The Year Millennials and Gen X Take the Wheel

2024 is shaping up to be an exciting year in the world of leadership, and it’s not your usual Baby Boomer scene. Bill George lets us in on a little secret: it’s the year Millennials and Gen Xers step up to the plate, and they’re bringing a whole new game.

This isn’t just about passing the baton from one generation to another – it’s a seismic shift in leadership style and values. Forget the traditional hierarchical, top-down approach that’s been all the rage. The emerging leaders, our dear Millennials and Gen X comrades, are rewriting the rules. They’re tossing aside the old playbook of accumulating money and power for a more heart-led, empathetic approach. Think of it like swapping out a chess game for a collaborative building project – everyone’s input is valued, and the goal is a collective win.

Now, let’s talk about these new-age leaders. They’re not just about making decisions with their heads; they’re leading with their hearts too. It’s a blend of passion, compassion, and empathy. The focus has shifted from maximizing shareholder value to creating value for a wider circle – employees, customers, shareholders, and the community. It’s like they’re hosting a huge party and everyone’s invited, not just the VIPs.

But wait, there’s more! These emerging leaders aren’t just talk. They’re about walking the walk with authenticity. No more hiding behind a façade or trying to fit into a mold. They’re all about being genuine, and guess what? It’s resonating with people, especially those on the front lines. This authenticity fosters a sense of collaboration within organizations, replacing the cutthroat competition with a spirit of teamwork.

Diversity and inclusion? They’re not just checkboxes for these leaders; they’re essential ingredients in the recipe for success. The new leadership style thrives on diverse perspectives, seeing them as strengths rather than obstacles. And when it comes to making mistakes, these leaders aren’t hiding behind a veil of infallibility. They’re owning up to their slip-ups and learning from them, which is pretty darn cool if you ask us.

Perhaps the most striking thing about these emerging leaders is their holistic view of life. They understand the importance of an integrated life, where work is a part of the picture, not the whole frame. They’ve seen the world grapple with complex social issues, and they’re ready to tackle challenges like climate change, income inequality, and global conflicts head-on.

So, as we roll into 2024, keep your eyes peeled for this new breed of leaders. They’re not just managing businesses; they’re shaping a more empathetic, inclusive, and authentic world.

And in a world that sometimes feels like it’s spinning off its axis, that’s just the kind of leadership we need.

Harvard Business School

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