Millennials are known for their eagerness in the pursuit of happiness. This often leads to an imperative of shortcuts and the quintessential search for an idyllic career path. Millennials are “very iconoclastic and very ambitious,” says Shara Senderoff, co-founder and CEO of Intern Sushi.
“According to Intelligence Group studies of millennials have found that … 72% would like to be their own boss. (Forbes).” Yet, young entrepreneurs are often inexperienced and overzealous, which prompts the need for guidance and to foster leadership skills, by those more experienced and successful.
So, here’s a look at ten leadership tips for young, ambitious Millennials.
1. Work hard and do the right thing.
“Amit Kleinberger, 34, has been the chief executive of Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt since 2008… and “he oversees what has become the world’s largest self-serve frozen yogurt franchise, with more than 370 stores.” According to Kleinberger, “his father taught him the key to success is hard work and doing the right thing for people around you. ‘I think success will chase you, if you do the right thing (LA Times).’”
2. Stay hungry.
Krave Jerky founder Jon Sebastiani attests, “I’ve found that I have an insatiable appetite for growth and success, and am never quite satisfied. The drive of ‘enough is never enough’ can be lonely and exhausting, but time and time again it has been proven to me that it pays off (Foodie Daily).” It’s one of many lessons that Sebastiani says has been crucial for him to remain humble, as his career and life have progressed.
3. Get creative.
Funley’s Delicious Co-founder, Shawn Mendel’s business mantra is to “work with the most creative people I find in every facet of my business” and to “listen, learn, and push forward no matter the challenge at hand.” But finding a creative spark can be challenging. According to Linda Naiman, founder of Creativity at Work, “We learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination and synthesizing information (Creativity at Work).”
4. Know your weaknesses.
Taking stock of your weaknesses is a key leadership trait that young entrepreneurs need. Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop suggests, “In order to be a better boss, you need to be able to recognize your weaknesses and trust that the team you’ve built will be able to complement those areas with their own strengths (Business News Daily).”
5. Ensure right people-right role fit.
According to Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of GE: “Getting the right people in the right jobs is a lot more important than developing a strategy.” According to HBR, “Most companies struggle with even the fundamental task of assessing the relative performance of their people. And they are worse still at taking appropriate actions based on such assessments.” After all, you “can experience real joy in recruiting, developing, and retaining ‘A’ and ‘B’ players. But dealing with ‘C’ players is painful, and most avoid it.”
6. Hire experience.
By default, young entrepreneurs lack experience. Jeff Platt, founder and CEO of Sky Zone suggests one way to remedy this is to “hire people older than you with more experience and take their advice because there are times that you may not know best.” Ultimately, there is value in hiring experience. Michael Alter, CEO of The Tie Bar agrees: “Experience teaches the problem-solving, people management and leadership skills that apply to all areas of business. Unfortunately, ambition and intelligence aren’t enough (Inc.).”
7. Find a mentor.
Jeff Salter, the founder of Caring Senior Service franchise suggests that: “As entrepreneurs we allow our ideas to rule our decision making and often throw analysis and planning out the window. A good mentor will help you think about things you have no experience with (Business News Daily).” Emily Chalk, Senior Managing Partner at East of Ellie, attests to the benefits of mentorship. “Finding a mentor is an essential part of a being a well-rounded professional; one who never stops learning about themselves and their profession.”
8. Keep your promises.
“There are a lot of don’ts when it comes to making promises, but there is one absolute DO: always promise your clients that you will work hard and smart to deliver the best results for them,” says Rakia Reynolds, founder of Skai Blue Media. While it seems simplistic, ethical business pays dividends. According to Harvard’s Center for Ethics, “Several studies show that businesses with a culture of keeping one’s word, or with leaders who keep their promises and live their values, are more profitable.”
9. Challenge and motivate yourself.
“You make goals… but then you procrastinate. You write a to-do list… but then you don’t follow through. And this happens again and again and again. Seriously, what’s the problem?” According to The John Maxwell Company, “The best motivation is self-motivation. In fact, not many people succeed in life without self-generated drive. If you rely on others to energize you, or hesitate until the right mood hits, or delay until circumstances are ideal, then you’ll spend most of your life waiting. Leaders motivate themselves internally rather than depending on external incentives.”
10. Give and earn respect.
CEO of Red Hat, Jim Whitehurst suggests: “Ask yourself if you command respect because people have to respect you or, rather, because you’ve truly earned respect. Many people aspire to titles because that forces others to respect them. But, to me, this is the lowest form of respect, especially if the person you’re receiving respect from is more junior than you or works at a lower rung in the bureaucracy. Respect has to be earned. It’s not about a title (HBR).”
This article has been edited and condensed.
Gleen Maxwell is an experienced entrepreneur and a content strategist at 1clickdissertation.co.uk. She enjoys sharing career advice with young people and her articles have been published on various career blogs. Gleen earned a Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New Jersey City University. Connect with on @1clickdissert Twitter.
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