by Margery Mayer
Millennials — those born after 1980 — are having quite an impact on today’s work environment. You’re probably thinking it’s a consequence of their comfort level with technology, and you aren’t wrong. But what we’re focusing on is how their increased need for collaboration and new challenges is changing the way projects are assigned and managed.
For example, The Wall Street Journal reports a major uptick in the number of companies applying a shared leadership model, and we couldn’t be more pleased. In an environment in which each project is led by the team member with the most expertise, everyone has a chance to play to his strengths and gain a little managerial experience. This model also creates more possibilities for mentoring and cross-training, which attract younger workers and engages older ones. Certainly, there are some cultural shifts that go along with this approach, especially in companies whose leadership is used to having complete authority. But we’ve seen the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
One “newish” tool that can bridge the style gap is social networking. In a recent Web 2.0 seminar, Best Buy, Oracle. Serena, and Avenue A/Razorfish discussed that by implementing social networking software, morale, employee motivation and innovation increased. They felt that their employees were more engaged, believed the company was interested in their views and took advantage of their contributions in growing the company. And it can help current leadership identify up-and-comers by engaging them more casually.
Please contribute your experiences with shared leadership and let us know what you have done to improve business results.