Leading "Net-Genners"

Net-genners, those of us born after the commercialization of the internet, are not employable (in the conventional sense of the term) as entry-level recruits in the "old" employment model. The old model of employment for entry level was power-based and one sided. The employer had the power and the knowledge, the inexperienced employee was dependent on the job, and needed to learn from veteran supervisors and managers. The new employee could be managed and motivated with traditional carrots and sticks.

Not so the net-genner. Net-genners know that it is possible, even if not likely, to become billionaires while still in their twenties. This is something that was beyond the realm of possibility for their managers or parents when they were young. The older generation, when they were young, could only attain such fast wealth if they married money or won a lottery. By connecting with their Facebook friends around the world and using technology innovatively, net-genners can create global companies for a few dollars and in a few days in ways their parents could not have dreamt of. And even though only a few of those companies are likely to succeed, they can try it so many times and for so little risk that there is a chance that one of their attempts will succeed. Their day jobs are often just ways to fund their passions - no wonder so many managers find the "new generation" entitled, selfish and lazy!

Managers who give up the control model of power and status and lead this bright young talent by personal stature and their own human greatness are the ones that succeed in motivating them and harvesting the richness of their youthful spirits. Young people admire human greatness and heroism and they aspire to it. These successful leaders recognize that while they, the older generation, have wisdom and experience, the young generation has technology skills, creativity, an understanding of what is possible and a vision of the future that is far more vibrant and valuable than their own. Instead of employing young people, these leaders are creating dynamic partnerships with them and attracting them in droves.

These forward thinking leaders free from the shackles of their own insecurities and ego needs, show honor, respect and appreciation to the young talent for the value they bring to the table. In turn they find that young people see them as role-models and are eager to learn from them and emulate them.

This new generation of great leaders has long abandoned the control model of leadership and instead authentically recognizes the value the net-genners bring to a company irrespective of their age or inexperience. They appreciate that young people are not the ignorant entry-level recruits of yesteryear but come to the job with at least 15 years of technology experience from day one. Leadership of young people is no place for the arrogant. This new, successful cadre of leaders are authentic people with genuine humility, vulnerability. They are attracting young talent into partnerships of explosive innovation and productivity. See Steve Strauss's Managing Millennials: Treat them as adults for some practical insights.

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