How the Facebook generation wants to be led

Interesting results from a Forbes roundtable discussing how young professionals want to be led at work. They boiled it down to five principles:

1. Empower us; don’t micromanage our talent

2. Sponsor us; serve as role models

3. Allow us to manage our own brand; don’t define us

4. Trust us; don’t question our intentions

5. Challenge us; don’t marginalize us

I think you could sum it up as just one thing: “Set us free” which is exactly the core concept of democratic business.

This is further evidence that workplaces based on democratic principles are the best placed to attract, retain and get the most out of the smart young people entering the workplace now.

5 thoughts on “How the Facebook generation wants to be led

  1. Tom,

    That’s a not unreasonable list of what the FaceBook Generation of young professionals want from their organisation; to justify receiving what they want what do you think they should be offering to the organisation to motivate the organisation into giving them what they want?

  2. I don’t think of freedom as something that has to be justified in return for what the employee offers to the employer, as if it’s a perk or benefit. It’s in the company’s interests to set their people free too because they will be much more motivated, loyal and higher performing.

    Just an anecdotal example: I was talking to a really smart recent graduate a couple of days ago. He was working for what sounded like a decent, upcoming medium sized business but he was really in on the ground floor and doing quite simple procedural work. However he was telling me that he was motivated to make more of a difference and do more meaningful interesting work so he would finish the procedural stuff as quickly as he could then was proactively initiating his own projects to help make the company’s operations more efficient. He’d had some success in having ideas adopted but generally felt like it was too hard to get anything changed around the place because of the layers of management and decision making. A democratic organisation can tap into this youthful energy and enthusiasm, provide help and support to aid their success and stop them going off in completely the wrong direction, but mostly empower them to change and improve things. I expect his current employer will lose his talent, and probably replace him with a corporate robot who gets the job done but does nothing to take the business forward. In the meantime a democratic company could turn him into a rising star and unlock his potential.

  3. Well, first we need to learn what box to reply in :)

    I’d say all those things sound lovely, but at this stage in my career most of those things are a given. I’m not sure if I had been treated then as I am now where I would be (and I guess will never know) – we do live in interesting times.

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