Young Leaders — Reshaping Team Success
As in words of the famous Greek Philosopher Heraclitus — “There is nothing permanent except change.” With evolution of human civilisation, this quote has withstood over decades; the only addition with advent of technology is the delta rate of change has force-multiplied in last mile of human journey. With evolving landscapes, need of having young leaders in any team setting — be it corporate organisations or team sports has only magnified recently to constantly adapt with both- the diverse millennial workforce as well as technology advancements. Notwithstanding the seasoned experienced counterparts, having a diversified blend of team leaders across age-groups is pivotal to greater team success. Before directly jumping into how young leaders pave way for astronomical gains across the board, sharing an example from the latest SuperBowl, which had Sean McVay at 36 years old won the game’s most prestigious trophy coaching players above his age.
McVay became the youngest NFL coach at 30, at an age when most of the football players are at the peak of their playing careers. In the next 5 years, he has coached the LA Rams team to 1 SuperBowl win, 2 SuperBowl Appearances, 4 Playoff appearances and has converted the often-forgotten team in the Sports Capital of Los Angeles into a winning juggernaut. Most of his astronomical success in a League often ruled by old coaches >55 years is by enabling the team mantra over the individual glory. McVay adapts a clear communication ecosystem at the team facilities where accountability is at forefront and this thought-process is highlighted by focusing on his personal coaching mistakes in team meetings.
So, when multi-billionaire franchises like the LA Rams are willing to invest in the younger talent like McVay, a perineal question during the hiring process involved in choosing people leaders at work is the number of years on a candidate’s resume. Here are some of the things young leaders bring to a diverse organisation discussion table.
Inexperience Boosts Learnings Cycle
While experience in handling critical situations is always promoted as the DeFacto Model, it is often a bane to unlearn rigid process and methodologies when dealing with a novel tech/people situation. Young leaders have an attitude to go back to drawing board and make continuous improvements to the organisational culture making it more inclusive towards the juniors in the team. Experience in policy making always has a risk of alienating teams from the next generation of workforce, hence stalling team growth to current set of leaders.
Its humane for any leader to have biases in their overall decision-making cycle, while the biases is good in most of the cases, serve as blind spots in rare cases. For teams to work upon these blind spots, young leaders having been at the receiving end in time proximity cycles are more receptive to feedback. They tend to put their first-hand experiences aside and be more willing to accommodate team needs just as the McVay example in the LA Rams story.
Elevate Team Goals
There is a general tendency for outgoing leaders to solve for keeping their personal timeframe at an organisation/team in mind and often in such scenarios team goals are diminished until there is change of guard. Often a times, this offsets team goals by a few years and thus impacting the overall team growth trajectory. Young leaders having a greater career headway often look to elevate team goals independent of their own presence at team and hence paving way of long term alignment with overall company vision.
Apart from these examples, a variety of other situations can be enumerated where having a young leader at decision-making table is of advantage to overall team gains. While there are some risks with keeping everyone at table happy about it, building trust and investing in youth early sets up teams for future milestones. One way to keep giving back to the people community is to continuous back such roles and candidates, enabling the path ahead and that is what differentiates true leaders from the rest.
Leaders invest in building the experience in raw talent,
Managers try to harp on existing experience.
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