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5 Key Indicators to Lead the Y Generation

The Y Generation will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025. Yet, they are still misunderstood in corporatebusinesses. Our purpose is to create a “5 key skills” format to the Manager 4.0 based on a deep understanding of the Y Generation profile and its convenient leadership style.

Generation Y is often described as the people that were born after 84’, even though its characteristics are much
deeper than only the age of the people. Five characters could more genuinely describe our generation. Firstly, we are more motivated by challenging projects than by stability at work; we strive to exploit our full potential in every project. Secondly, we readily buy skill development policies over career perspectives; we consider high level knowledgeable people more impressive than degrees that were once acquired. Thirdly, we think globally and not locally. Meaning our motivation is directly linked to the global impact of processes and tasks we complete. Challenge, development, global impact.

The two last aspects are especially important. The first one being that we are used to working in silos and having few levels of hierarchy to move faster and promote incremental experimentations. This “bottomup” approach probably stems from the era we grew up in: the WEB 2.0 which was entirely based on a massive creation and sharing internet (YouTube. Facebook, Wikipedia, … where we produce the content). In contrast with old-school professionals who think in the “WEB 1.0” mindset based on a TOP down approach (websites in the 90’s were a source of information, not a place for sharing and creating new information). The last Y generation trait is the one managers have difficulties admitting: we follow a vision, more than we follow money. The best proof of this is the attractiveness of startups for young professionals. The long-term vision sets the level of dedication, not the paycheck.

These two last aspects – transversal work and inspiring visions – require a new style of leadership that matches the digital revolution generation.Leadership 4.0.

Y Generation

Requiring a new management style

There are 4 styles of leadership (see illustration below).
1. The Leader Maker is direct, gives precise instructions, supervises processes and is the only decision-maker on board. This leader balances what is lacking professionally and is constantly boosting people’s motivation.

2. The Leader Educator builds collaborators by teaching teams new capabilities and skills. It is important to this figure to explain the reasons behind decisions and his/her pedagogical approach towards young professionals.

3. The Leader Collaborative is an active listener associating his/her team to the decision making process. The work environment is among her/his top priorities. This leader believes that communication between the team members is an essential factor.

4. The Leader Trainer creates the favorable conditions for teams to perform. This leader is focused on development and team empowerment. The leader is easy to reach and involves the team throughout decision-making processes.

Which leader is the right fit for the Y generation? It’s the Leader Trainer, of course. This is because our generation – we mentioned it in part one — does not integrate companies if they do not deeply believe in the company’s vision. Y professionals inspired by the vision are automatically committed (right part of the graph). Second, we grew up in a world where competency, skills and knowledge have become commodities. We will know tomorrow what we do not master today. Taking these two natural components –Committed-to-vision and expert-to-become – we can consider the only leadership style matching the Y generation (in the upper right corner) is a model of Leader Trainer.


Leader 4.0 diagnostic

Turning to a new style of management requires targeting the right audience to perform as the Leader 4.0. Here are the 5 Leadership KPI’s according to the 5 Y generation unique traits we described earlier:


As our generation is driven more by challenges than stability, launching ambitious challenges to the team is a main part of the innovative leader. To explore new opportunities we should encourage fresh and innovative ideas and assign new projects to the team at least twice a year. Doing so will keep the team motivated and interested in the special and new challenges. Do you assign special projects (new products/new markets) to your team at least twice a year?

The Y Generation understands that in our fast-moving world, skill development and responsibility level are much more important than career perspectives. To empower the team means both decentralizing a part of the decision making process and allocating resources to frequent skills development sessions for our collaborators. What skills development training program are you currently running? What is the expected outcome?

Thinking globally is attractive but requires a lot of consistency. That’s the reason why initiating energy is the key when pursuing long and uncertain business journeys. The Leader 4.0 encourages people, shows the way to self-improvement and felicitates for accomplished efforts. The healthiest type of companies generally have a non-materialistic incentive mechanism to reward people. What are the 3 non-materialistic incentives that boost your team every single month?

Given that the Y generation uses bottom-up workforces to operate (opposed to top-down hierarchical processes), the role of the Leader 4.0 is to support the team’s project realizations. Establishing opportunities for the team members to show their abilities and to act autonomously is among the best ways to raise the team’s satisfaction and pride. To reach it, the Leader 4.0 should facilitate creativity sessions and associative brainstorming. Did you plan at least 3 Innovation Sessions or the upcoming trimester?

Millennials follow a vision. The duty of the Leader 4.0 is to clearly articulate this vision and to plan its achievable road to success. “Bring 100,000 employees in industrial companies to create values and maximize their potentials within 7 years”. This is the vision we concretize at MYK-Celerator through Corporate Innovation programs, books, global conferences, workshops and industrial startups co-founding. Are your colleagues able to articulate your 5 years vision?

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