Trust is a vital component for effective Millennial leadership. Trust happens through interdependence in our team, integrity, learning, and community.
Trust continues to falter. The 15th Annual Edelman Trust Barometer highlights this point:
“In fact, trust in business declined in two-thirds of the 27 markets the survey covers and is now below 50% in 14 markets, the worst showing since 2008.”
In another poll by Parade magazine:
“35% of American employees would forgo a substantial pay rise if they could see their direct supervisors fired.”
The next generation of leaders needs to renew trust and empower collaboration in meaningful, results-oriented ways. Renewing trust and empowering collaboration are not easy tasks, and no simple formulas exist.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor at Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, challenges the leadership industry in his new book Leadership BS. In an interview with Dan Schawbel, he said:
“…leadership education insufficiently focuses on building the influence skills and acumen in managing organizational dynamics—organizational politics, if you will—that are so essential to getting things done on the one hand and surviving and succeeding in workplaces on the other.”
I have not read Leadership BS (yet), but it sounds like required reading for Millennial leaders along with older generations. We need to correct our leadership direction. Too many problems are going left unsolved.
We need to stand up and begin delivering for results again. Using the power of interdependence may contain an important element to reclaim trust and collaborate for tangible results.
Interdependence Delivers Results
Often, leaders think it is all about being a strong and independent person. Rugged individualism is how leadership is often exhibited in our culture. This view is untrue and can be destructive. The strongest leaders are the interdependent ones. The highest achieving teams are the interdependent ones.
Interdependence is depending on others; each person brings something to the work playground. The power of interdependence is in knowing everyone’s strengths and using them fully. It is in knowing when to release your ideas or solutions when a stronger one is presented in the group. In the everyday workings of teams, the interdependent ones accomplish more in a shorter time.
We need to depend on others when they have the insight, talent, and capability to do an activity in the best way possible. A team dependent on another’s strengths creates a strong bond of interdependence.
Teams contain all sorts of characters. The best teams are the ones where everyone brings her or his strengths along with her or his humility, best listening skills, and finest ideas. Teams that are self-managing are the most interdependent group of leaders possible. If a single leader is designated as a team, the leader can only be successful if the team works well together and are engaged at a similar level.
Interdependence of human skills and insights is what will bring out the best in all team leaders. A team of independents will lead to an entanglement of egos and a frustration of efforts. A team of interdependent leaders will lead to empowered achievement.
Integrity draws from knowing and living your beliefs. Worthy beliefs motivate non-harmful and inspired leadership and living. Define your core beliefs and then fully practice them in your everyday situations.
As important, understand the impact of your core beliefs on others. Are your core beliefs driving disdain in others? If so, then you may want to fire them before they fire you. The better answer is: Find core beliefs that make you and others better while producing meaningful, tangible results.
Good leaders learn. There is a mutual dependency on books, mentors, and other leaders to stretch our minds, our attitudes, our motivations, and our approaches. Leaders who do not have an interdependent learning relationship become stale and outdated, stuck in old ways and inadequate traditions.
Learning is more than the taking in of information and ideas, however. It is also in how you give. Leaders who teach and share lift up all leaders within their circle of influence. Learning is a give-and-take relationship that energizes strong, interdependent leaders.
Interdependent leaders know the community is where the next generation of leaders will spring. Communities feed off of solid leaders, and leaders feed off of solid communities. Leave communities alone and the talent will slip backwards rather than upwards. Talent requires attention and engagement to be developed. The tighter the interdependence, the higher the potential for long-term advancement. Advancement comes in the forms of:
- Greater involvement in activities
- More commitment to people
- More conversations on how to lead
- Higher learning, raising the standards of knowledge and insights
Leading for Results
In a recent Cone Millennial Cause Study, 78 percent of Millennials believe that companies have a responsibility to make a difference in the world, and 79 percent want to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contributes to society. These wonderful statistics can only be achieved through an interdependent leadership approach.
Connecting is just one step toward the mission. Creating strong, interdependent relationships provides a strengthened root system to engage and collaborate in more meaningful and effective ways.
Making a difference in the world or how we care for society are both hollow unless we lead in an interdependent, trustworthy, and collaborative way, producing real results all along the way. This is the new activist way to lead.