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Four Tips Gen Z Need To Excel In Leadership Roles

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by Paul Bramson, CEO of The Paul Bramson Companies

Corporate leadership has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, marked by the emergence of young professionals stepping into pivotal leadership roles. McKinsey & Company reported that nearly one-third of newly appointed 2023 S&P 500 CEOs were under 50. 

This trend highlights a broader movement where Generation Z (born between the late 1990s and early 2010s) is entering the workforce in droves and swiftly climbing to prominent roles. As these young leaders navigate their role complexities, the need for a solid foundation in leadership principles becomes paramount. 

Here are four tips to consider:

1. Harness mentorship’s power.

Effective leadership can be a path guided by those who walked it before. In this context, mentorship can be a transformative tool for young leaders. Mentorship can provide personalized guidance, wisdom, and actionable feedback — all crucial to developing a well-rounded leader. 

Gen Z leaders should look for individuals with a proven track record in their industry or field to observe, learn, and understand the leadership qualities they aspire to develop. Potential mentors can be found within their organization, through networking events or platforms such as LinkedIn. When approaching potential mentors, it’s essential to be clear that you are interested in mentorship, sharing your goals, expectations, and what you hope to gain while remaining open to the mentor’s insight on how to structure the relationship.

Mentorship ultimately benefits both parties. Mentees gain the mentor’s experience and wisdom, while mentors can refine coaching skills, gain new perspectives, and help shape next-generation leaders.

2. Master emotional intelligence.

Strong and effective leaders have high levels of emotional intelligence (EQ). The five components of EQ are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Leaders with High EQ are effective because they know themselves, their strengths, and their challenge areas. This allows them to lean into their strengths while seeking support or delegating areas they may struggle with. These two elements also come into play with emotions and awareness of one’s “triggers” to manage them and not react strongly in the moment. Strong leaders maintain a level head to respond accordingly and appropriately. 

Leaders with high EQ have or learn empathy so they can understand all perspectives, most importantly those that differ from their own. Empathy allows leaders to truly understand the individuals on their team, meet them where they are in a conversation or a moment, and act accordingly.

The final two elements of EQ are motivation and social skills. Motivation is the drive from within to accomplish and achieve. Most leaders do not take a backseat to their role or career, they are right in the driver’s seat. Social skills are integral for how a leader moves through their day and life engaging with others, acting appropriately and accordingly at any given time. 

The elements of emotional intelligence work together so it is important to continuously hone, grow, and learn to keep them all strong.

3. Refine your communication style.

Communication in leadership involves inspiring, influencing, and connecting with people on a level that engages and motivates them. Observing and understanding how your messages are received is integral to effective leadership. Your team needs to understand what you are asking of them, so clarity is important, but communication is also how we build relationships and trust. 

Understanding how you communicate is the first step then being able to refine it to be more effective will allow you to adapt it based on your audience. That audience can be one person, a few, or 100 people. Regardless of audience size, strong leaders communicate in a way that resonates with those they’re talking to.

Communication is also more than what you say, it is also how you take in information. Active listening is vital to fully hear and understand what another person is saying. It involves hearing the words and context, asking clarifying questions to confirm understanding, and reflecting back what one heard to ensure a complete and full understanding.

4. Embrace continuous growth.

For Gen Z leaders, developing excellent leadership requires an unwavering dedication to self-improvement and a continuous approach to learning. Participation in leadership training programs and workshops provide opportunities to develop new competencies and refine skills. These programs cover critical areas like strategic thinking, emotional intelligence, and advanced communication techniques.

Staying up to date on industry trends and best practices is achieved through regular reading, podcasts, conferences, and professional networks. Such activities enhance knowledge and expand networks, opening doors to new ideas, collaborations, and opportunities. Leaders who commit to their development set a powerful example for their teams, fostering a culture of learning and adaptability within their organizations. 

For Gen Z leaders, the message is clear: embrace these core strategies to excel in leadership roles and inspire those around you to achieve their highest potential. The future of business looks promising as Gen Z steps into leadership positions.

 

Paul Bramson is widely regarded as one of the most impactful and gifted keynote speakers and trainers globally. Recognized as a thought leader in the areas of communication, leadership, and sales, Paul has over 25 years of experience inspiring all levels of professionals, leaders, and teams. Paul’s ability to captivate and entertain audiences stems from his genuine passion, unique talents, and commitment to being better.