This is the first in a series of four articles based on a presentation given by Steve Price, Executive Director of the EIIL, for the European Construction Institute. In this section, Steve breaks down the changes in skill requirements needed for the next generation of leaders in industry.
The EIIL runs an annual core programme of workshops to help member companies develop the leadership skills of their next generation leaders. The original 2003 Survey of European Leaders of Industry proposed that a particular set of skills was present in current leaders and would be required of future leaders. The programme is reviewed annually and according to our members remains relevant despite changes seen in industry in the last 13 years.
In that time the biggest change to future leadership requirements was identified through our 2013 Leading the Connected Generation study. This projected that while the workplace itself will change, leading Generation C will also require today’s future leaders to change the way they interact with tomorrow’s recruits. Some of the previously needed skills will become more important and entirely new skills must be developed to attract and retain talent.
A quick definition for those who need one: Generation C, the Connected Generation, was born from around 1996. The definition broadly overlaps with that of Millenials, but is more nuanced. The shared characteristics of this generation arise from them being digital natives – never having known life without internet. As such they are very adept with internet and mobile technologies, feel entitled, inter-connected and insecure.
After looking at the leadership skills needed to get the most from the proliferation of internet, mobile and collaborative technologies and from those who use them, our study concluded that all of the skills identified in 2003 would still be needed. In particular the founding principles of collaborative working as well as building, working in, setting direction and aligning, and leading teams all remain relevant. However, it also found that other skills would be needed.
Firstly, an increase in communications skills, particularly internal social media channels to young employees. As an example from the EIIL, this would mean changing our Effective Communication workshops to consider the changes to internal communications as well as external.
The second big change we saw was the need for an increased capability to lead increasingly multi-cultural distributed teams which remain connected internally. The EIIL’s current offering on this subject may also need to address both internal, external and mixed teams.
However, while developing these additional skills might address how to get the best from this new generation’s capability to process data, collaborate remotely and crowd-source intelligence, there are further considerations for today’s leaders. These relate to the attraction and retention of Generation C in the War for Talent as the workplace, and in fact the whole industry, changes.
This series is continued in part two, Next Generation Leadership: Retaining Generation C in the War for Talent. We’ll be releasing the whole series over the next couple of weeks so check back for more!