Let me be my own Leader!

What change isn’t scary? Especially if you’re a young(er) leader trying to win over the hustle and bustle of modern-day industry with “fresh” ideas. Expectations can be set high; and the bigger they are, the harder they fall. So, how can a young manager conquer these new challenges in an exciting, new chapter of one’s life without disappointing themselves or the community they serve? I certainly don’t know the answer, but that’s the reason I wanted to take a different direction with this blog platform. The only thing better than learning from your own mistakes is learning from others’ mistakes to avoid repeating negative history.

The change in approach to this blog forum I hope will be appealing not only to current subscribers, but provide a broader and more relevant topic to adaptive learning in leadership beyond just the manufacturing industry. Like all relationships, leadership is not a one-size-fits-all resource that allows one to apply cookie-cutter solutions on different teams and organizations hoping to get the same result every time. It needs to be assessed, fine-tuned, and constantly adjusted to match the challenges within the relationship(s). However, that doesn’t mean one needs to re-invent the wheel for every friendly exchange between team members.

Spoiler Alert: there’s nothing new here.

Experience is arguably one of the best teachers. Unfortunately, the limited shelf life of humans provides an asymptote on experience for any individual to purely rely on information from their own personal history. So, instead of ineffectively trying to capture all the experiences in a limited lifespan it would make sense to be open to others’ stories. All great leaders had support and guidance from other leaders to help counsel them in unclear circumstances. That’s what I’m attempting to use this blog platform to assist with communicating ideas, providing coaching moments, and developing the new generation of leaders by learning from others’ experience…and maybe make a few professional connections along the way.

The concept of mentoring isn’t a new business practice and I could be off (so please tell me if I am), but through my professional career I’ve seen an increased emphasis in the business world on creating and incorporating mentorship programs within companies. The indirect benefits are astronomical, (reduced turnover rate, increased job satisfaction and productivity, among others…). But, with cost being a huge influencer with employee expenses, structured mentor-mentee programs are not always appealing to companies. Obstacles, like time spent at work for the mentoring program and whom the program should be made available to, are subjective gray-areas for the traditional HR department. Though, most HR teams can’t argue with increased engagement and reduced turnover, right? How can we change the conversation to make mentorships less structured and more of an integrated part of business culture? How do we make it the norm instead of the exception?

Regardless of individual companies’ stances on mentoring, it is apparent across professional and personal realms that guidance from experienced counterparts is not only beneficial, but necessary, to grow. Without straightforward and open dialogue between generations of leaders, we’re all doom to repeat past mistakes. This is what I hope the new stance and platform for my blog will provide for all forward-thinking leaders and followers. To my fellow millennials (aka, the mentees): we have some great qualities to bring to the business world and the vision to make our lives more meaningful and rewarding. But, we need to grow thicker skin and think about the bigger picture. Professional feedback IS NOT PERSONAL…that’s why it’s called professional, who knew? It’ll help you be prepared for the next stage in your career, which is coming a lot sooner than you think. To my fellow leaders (aka, the mentors): be patient with us millennials. Even though we may be precious, unique little snowflakes, hitting us with the heat before we’re ready isn’t going to make us tougher. We can be open to criticism, just ask us about how many Angry Face Emojis we get on our social media posts; I mean, how much more critical can you get? But, like with any new personality you’re going to have to adjust your strategy in order for us to want to listen to how we’re not being successful. Don’t give up on us because we’re going to be the next generation of business leaders, whether you’re ready for it or not.

With that, I’ll be describing occurrences I’ve either been a part of directly or just heard through counterparts in similar situations in each new post. I’ll explain what I believe would be the best way to respond and what I need to take away from the new experience to better handle it in the future. Editor’s note: all opinions are appreciated and welcomed. The intention is to pass along the “wax on, wax off” wisdom from a business leader sensei, open up the suggestions to philosophical discussions, and pass along insight with the intention of becoming compassionate, forward-thinking leaders. But, I’m still a snowflake…so be gentle, please? Thank you!

Twitter: @KaitCook18

Photo credit: https://imgflip.com/i/1het01

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