You are at the bank, your child starts getting loud and complaining out of boredom. Your meeting your friends, your child begins to ask you 18 questions per minute. You have so many things to do at home and your child is constantly trying to get your attention … The solution most parents have: Give the child your phone or iPad so they can play a game. And this has created the foundations and psychology of the iGens. The question is it good, bad — or both?
Let’s look at the evidence: Some games support the skill to make faster decisions and be more agile, some make you think and solve problems, and some are just mindless entertainment. But all reduce personal and social skills. So, unless we are going to start “leading through texting”, it is unlikely that most in this generation will have the required skill set to be great leaders. At least not yet.
But wait, there’s more.
How does being competitive fit into youth leadership development? According to DCI research on emotional drive, two primary motivators are responsible for ambition, the drive for achievement, and the drive for recognition. Findings suggest that being competitive is a product of ambition. But not all ambition or competitiveness are created equal.
In my book, “Architects of Extraordinary Team Culture”, I have outlined the specific mix that determines how peoples ambitions are manifested when they mix with other people who may or may not have the similar emotional drivers. Findings suggest that competitive young adults, when mixed with the right group will excel in work, studies, efficiency and personal achievement.
But when mixed with a group that does not match their emotional drive ranking, the results will likely be underachievement.
Another factor that affect the competitive nature and related to leadership development of the iGen is autonomy. Due to extreme exposure to, well, the unlimited knowledge of the internet, they often feel they may know more than teachers or bosses. And they may be right.
Unfortunately egos and the education system are not supporting this high potential. This is the real danger, where high potential individuals feel that the world is not supporting their success which may lead to frustration and passion burnout. In other words, they accept mediocracy.
So rather than teaching this high potential group and spoon-feeding them knowledge they can get in seconds from their mobile phone, we need to start coaching them to lead themselves and each other. As bosses or educators, the roles of bring out the best in our youth has drastically changed.
Coaching provides the autonomy to support confidence and direction for the iGen to maximise the passion, admission, and potential they already have in a positive way. And when they are coached and put into the right group mix, these kids will not only be able to live up to their potential, but also quickly adapt to leadership roles in school and work.
What you can do at home or as an iGen manager:
* Let them teach you. The iGen is learning at least one new skill or concept every week on average, give them a chance to apply new ideas to your applications.
* Make sure they are in an environment where they must speak and interact with others to achieve personal and group objectives. This forces them to improve communication and social skills.
* Understand their emotional drive and create teams that compliment these drives. Mix match and test. If an iGen candidate is underachieving, try a different team with people who have different motivators and drives.
* Coach for attitude and confidence. A great attitude will support all areas of success and excellence.
Arthur Carmazzi is an author and consultant on organisational culture and leadership.