What young leader must get right to succeed

Jeff Wilson
Jeff Wilson

There could not be a more demanding time for good business leaders, whether they’re baby boomers, millennials or members of other generations. The future likely will bring additional changes to the business world as we know it, and the matter becomes even more pressing as regulations and services evolve.

Business leaders face difficult decisions that affect teams and individuals. At the end of the day, leaders do what’s best for their teams and customers. It’s important, then, to consider some of the elements that can prepare young leaders to take on increasingly responsible roles in their companies.

Employees at all levels in a company must be willing to learn from each other’s experiences, good and bad. This goes from the entry-level employee to the most experienced veteran. Foster communication that encourages anyone at any level to ask for assistance in finding solutions to problems. This helps develop a strong culture in which employees believe and trust in their leaders.

Everyone within a company or firm also must remain willing to adapt to rapid changes. This applies to everything from regulations to technology to services. Regulations evolve quickly. It’s important for leaders to understand these changes and how they affect their teams and customers so they can provide support or solutions where it’s necessary. Technological changes can make processes and procedures more efficient, allowing leaders to focus on other areas of their organizations. Collaboration among leaders and team members is essential to innovation and developing new services.

Leaders must be able to develop deep and meaningful relationships professionally and personally to build trust with employees and customers. For leaders to work effectively, the teams around them must trust they’re making decisions in the best interest of them and the company. Customer relationships could challenge a leader and require them to bring a more personal perspective to a complicated issue or problem. A customer could contact any company to answer a question. But leaders who’ve become known and trusted advisors in their industries and have taken the time to develop relationships will be called upon first to offer their advice, often regardless of the price.

Last, and perhaps most important, leaders must maintain integrity. They have to do what’s right. Without integrity, a leader won’t enjoy the confidence or respect of their team members or serve as a trusted advisor to customers.

Business leaders have a lot of responsibility. They guide their teams, provide resources, delegate tasks and keep the big picture in focus. Leaders also recognize and celebrate individual and team successes. But leaders are ultimately accountable for the results of their teams, whether good or bad.

Young leaders who understand these elements and develop them within their organizations will be better positioned to adapt to change.

At the same time, businesses should support the young leaders who’ll drive growth and ultimately could be involved in not only the success but also the succession, of the firm.