Is there a generational divide in the perception of what it means to be a great leader? Have expectations changed among millennials and the rising generations in the way they think about their personal “brand” (values, beliefs, etc.) and that of the companies they work for?

From ‘Great Man’ Leadership to Alignment

In a recent interview with MiBiz, Leading by DESIGN founder Rodger Price talked with Rick Sanchez about the evolution of leadership and expectations for personal alignment:

I believe over the last 20 to 30 years there’s been a shift away from the classic command and control, some would call it the ‘great man’ model. Back then, it was mostly men that were allowed beyond the ‘glass ceiling,’ so to speak. There was this ‘great man model’ that the great man had the answers and people went to ‘him.’ It’s now becoming: Let’s get aligned. There are people with amazing talent, they can do amazing things. What we have to do is be aligned, so now it’s: Let’s get clear about our purpose and where we’re going, but then turn people loose. It’s very participative and the millennials who aren’t so interested in being part of a corporate thing, it’s much more important that people figure out their own purpose.

Feedback: the Path to Improvement as a Leader

When it comes to actually improving as a leader, Rodger shared that it comes down to asking for, receiving, and integrating feedback:

It’s really important that they find the courage to take an honest look at, ‘How am I doing?’ Sometimes the way to find that courage is to have someone that you know is on your side, but will also lovingly be open and honest with you. That’s a huge piece, to be able to have a safe place to go and take an honest look at, ‘How am I doing as a leader? What do I do really well?’ By the way, most leaders don’t realize what they do incredibly well. They also don’t understand their blind spots and where they’re shooting themselves in the foot.

One Trait All Leaders Must Possess

Rodger also addressed the kinds of skills that all fantastic leaders must have. Chief among them, according to Rodger, is the ability to listen, which is a regular them on our blog:

There are two great things that come out of listening. When people are listened to, they feel connected to you and they think more clearly. You can ‘listen’ someone to great thinking and to clearer thinking. You learn a ton when you listen well about what’s really going on, and then you build this relational connection with the person you’re listening to.

Enjoy the entire MiBiz article here, and you won’t want to miss Rodger’s latest piece for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Words Matter, but do does Understanding Them.