Your firm’s next generation of leaders is quickly rising to be the majority of staff in architecture and interior design firms across the country. As time goes by these professionals have taken on increased responsibility as well as leadership roles. Many baby boomers are nearing retirement and these positions are going to need to be filled. For this reason, many companies are working overtime to foster leadership skills in millennials and other young professionals in their firm. How do firms grow strong leaders?
One way to foster leadership skills is to advocate for continued education, whether that means going back to school for a master’s program or utilizing online education platforms. Younger generations often prefer online training, so providing easily accessible educational resources is a smart move for your future leaders in training.
Hands-on learning is often an effective strategy. Giving promising young employees partnerships is also very effective. Ownership will force them to learn and improve their leadership abilities on the job. Leadership has a lot to do with trust, so showing your best talent that you believe in them will make it easer for them to develop strong leadership skills.
Younger generations are highly connected when it comes to technology and social media. This has many advantages, but it also means that some millennials have less developed in-person social skills than older generations. This includes a sense of accountability. Strategic leadership development should include activities designed to improve accountability.
One-on-One and Team Mentoring
Young professionals benefit more from mentorship programs than generations that came before them. They have also come to expect some form of mentorship in the workplace. One-on-one mentoring works better for some and team mentoring works better for others, so a strategy that combines both is ideal.
Be Open and Understanding
To really foster leadership in young generations, you have to be open to sharing responsibility. You also have to be okay if they fail. Failure is part of the learning process. You also have to try to understand and appreciate the younger point of view. Generational perspectives can differ substantially, but that doesn’t mean one perspective is better than the other. You can learn a lot yourself by being open-minded.
Inevitably, younger generations are going to be the ones in leadership position, as older generations retire. It is important to start fostering leadership skills in millennials and other young professionals now so that leadership remains strong in the future. Bridging the gap between the generations will help your architectural or interior design firm stay successful.
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