Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


The State of Leadership in 2016

Volume: January 2016

As we enter the New Year, let’s take a look at the trends and actions that will be shaping our behavior as leaders this year.

  1. The Millennial Movement. According to demographic trends, the Millennials (born between 1980 – 1999) will make up 50% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. Not only will the Millennials be a majority of the core workforce, but many of them will be in leadership positions. As such, it becomes imperative that professionals are comfortable with Millennials and the perspective they bring to the office. Realize that Millennials will not automatically assume their co-workers are competent. They are “show me” people. As such, leaders need to prove themselves (early and often) with their Millennial co-workers. Also, use multiple channels of communication when communicating with Millennials. To do this, find out how they like to communicate: Email, text, in-person, group chat, etc. If you lead a group of Millennials, keep your meetings short. Research has shown that more than 50% of the time spent in meetings is wasted. Millennials will disengage if they feel their time or skills are being wasted. Therefore, get creative and lead succinct meetings. The Millennial generation brings technology skills, education, and fresh perspective to the workplace. If respected and immediately treated like equals, they can produce amazing results.
  1. Moving Groups. Leaders in the Information Age have been lulled into a funk by the ease of email communication. In an effortless moment, a communique to hundreds or thousands of people can be sent. Unfortunately, email communication is not always effective. Yes, our work world requires rapid responses and broad communication, but many leaders are missing important opportunities to connect with their work team using public speaking. When was the last time you held a Town Hall and addressed your entire team? How would you rate your performance? Many leaders are losing their ability to move people in a public forum via the spoken word. Do not let this be part of your leadership legacy. Renew your efforts to be a terrific public speaker. Look for opportunities to address groups of people in person. Move people. Share stories and experiences that touch people and make a difference in their lives. Your chance is waiting for you. Do not pass it up.
  1. Cyber Protection. The list of organizations that have been crippled by cyber-attacks continues to grow. Here is the troubling news: Every cyber security expert I talk with states that business security systems are about six months behind the capabilities of the hackers. This means that leaders must implement initiatives to combat this issue. In addition, having a team member who is designated as a cyber security office (CSO) is a good idea. If your organization has cyber insurance you are ahead of the game. If not, you may want to gather information from an attorney or insurance agent who is an expert in this field. Regarding your organization’s business continuation plan, dust that puppy off and make certain it contains a cyber protection section. Most businesses are vulnerable to a cyber-attack. Seek to safeguard your technology systems to the utmost, and have a plan in place to react quickly if something unfortunate happens.
  1. Targeted Internal Social Media. My goodness do we have social media options. There are literally hundreds to choose from. While social media can be a distraction and huge time-waster, it can also serve as a means to positively influence an organization and communicate during times of chaos. Consider setting up an internal Twitter as a safety valve in time of emergency. Use a private Facebook Group to build morale within your organization. Also, clearly communicate your organization’s social media policy. In other words, what social media do you encourage, how deeply will your organization be involved, what social media are you going to avoid, and why.
  1. Celebration. A leader I know was pondering how his team should celebrate when they achieved certain milestones. While he had some good ideas, he decided to let the team decide. A suggestion box was erected and over a two week period various suggestions were offered. The leadership team selected the five most frequent suggestions and put them to a vote. The winner? (I am not making this up). Navigate a remote controlled fire engine, with sirens blaring, around the entire office. This is how the team wanted to celebrate. And celebrate they did. And it was a great spectacle to behold. It was also the type of bedlam that helped morale soar.

    The purpose of my story is to highlight how important it is for leaders to know what moves their people. Leaders should gain clarity on how team members want to celebrate. It may sound trite, but “catch people doing something right.” Cherish the positives. Be a ray of light that shines out of a chaotic workplace. Trust me, your people will respond, and engage.

Bottom Line: What an honor it is to be a leader! Lead by your actions, not merely by your position. Seek to create an environment that allows every generation to flourish in the workplace. Take appropriate precautions regarding potential cyber-attacks. Focus on selected social media that increases team member communication and boosts morale. Speak to your people. Move them. Unlock their potential. Lead to your team to sizzling results in 2016 – you have the power to make it so!

Until next time, be well.

Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based executive coach, leadership development expert, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching, strategic planning, or to have Doug speak at your next event, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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