What is a leader? What is leadership and why is leadership important to an organization, community or nation? Can it reach the desired targets or goals without good leadership? Is there still a need for experienced leadership? Can we not achieve new desired levels with new and young leaders? A leader is someone who inspires passion and motivation in followers, who with a vision and the path to realizing it, who ensures their team has support and tools to achieve their goals. The leadership is the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to influence and guide followers or other members of an organization.
A good leader is more than just barking orders or giving directions without explanation. He/she communicates and motivates enough to make it easier for followers or teams to work with. In this case, experienced leaders may obtain an additional benefit to perform the work more efficiently and effectively. But this does not mean that new and inexperienced leaders are still inefficient and ineffective. Young and new leaders can see things differently and this can result in a new set of targets and goals. New and innovative thinking by young leaders would always make a difference to a changing organization, community, or country. Thus, one can see the importance of young leaders in making a difference in some issues where experienced leaders have failed continuously.
The differences we observe among young leaders and how they bring about change. According to a number of studies, young leaders,
- Bring enthusiasm and optimism to the work.
- Understand next generation and its trends
- Challenge the prevailing assumptions
- Learn fast
- Technologically smart
- Fun to work with
All above are seriously affecting new changes and new levels of an organization, a community, or a country.
Most young leaders can make the changes because they are not afraid to go outside the comfort zone (have the desire and willingness to be uncomfortable). They are ready to do so for the necessary change from other experienced or old leaders. They recognize one another well, with no segregation or discrimination leading to better results. Above all, they know the difference between being an ally and a partner. That understanding helps them to do so much better. They recognize the daily opportunity to make a change. Thus, they do not complicate things, and they recognize the everyday possibility of sharing their voice and spreading change instead. They know that they are the future, and they have to make the necessary changes as well.
When working with older leaders, young leaders face challenges and shortcomings. On the one hand, it is a generation gap that arises from experiences, technologies and other cultural and social impacts. Some of the major complaints about senior leader/executives are:
- Not open to change. Thus, stuck in their ways with tons of blind spots, no willingness to listen or learn that brings no hope of change.
- Not flexible how work gets done. Refuse to give up power of decision making. Lack in forward thinking, not adventurous.
- Think they know everything and thus do not understand young leaders and ideas. So, lack of curiosity and having with a high pride.
- Too many rules and thus hesitated to try out new ideas. This leads to more policies and procedures rather than passion.
- Too slow. Slow to change and slow to adopt new technology and decision making.
Thus, it needs a proper understating of young leaders, and give them enough space to bring changes to the organization, community, or country. The old and experienced should understand the importance of young leaders and their wishes. So creating a better environment for young leaders is crucial for any country that really wants to see progress. Many developing countries with older political leaders show less and less progress with older leaders, while some countries with younger leaders show progressive shifts in development. Numerous examples of such old leadership can be found in Africa and South Asia.
The world has many examples of how youth leaders have made a difference, or at least a difference of thought. Among them are Nadia Whittome (UK), Chloe Swarbrick (New Zealand), Edison Broce (Panama), Safiya Wazir (US), Karina Gould (Canada) and Jordan Steele-John (Australia). Jacinda Arden (Prime Minster – New Zealand), Justin Trudeau (Prime minister -Canada), Mette Frederiksen (Prime Minister of Denmark), and Sanna Marin (Prime minister of Finland) are some other word examples as well.
It is therefore essential to hear the younger generations and their demands. We need to let them lead their dreams. The more senior leaders accept and embrace young leaders, the easier it is to make a better world that everyone can be happy and in harmony.