On Inspiring Future Leaders

I have observed that work environments are distinctly different from those of a learning environments.

And the difference is leadership.

The Net Generation

I spent a few days a while back speaking to students at Lakes Region Community College. I was inspired by the interest of the “Net Generation” students in what I had to say.

One student made a valid point with this statement:

“There are many speakers who attempt to convey a message, but the audience has needs that must be met in order to retain interest. And this starts with a message that is clear and designed around the wants and needs of the audience.”

This student was pointing out the importance of having people-of-influence (speakers or leaders) understanding their audience and ensuring that their message is well-tuned to them. Unfortunately, many work environments miss this aspect of effective communication.

Work environment leaders focus on leading others without first understanding behaviors and how leadership is developed. In order to create a great work environment, one must start with obtaining and developing of great people as a foundation for success.

Understanding  Personal and Professional Leadership

Business must start by developing people with a strong understanding of personal and professional leadership.

What does this entail?

  • More one on one coaching and guiding of individuals on a regular basis; this should be natural and developmental.
  • Understanding of each individual’s strengths and weaknesses and developing them based on personal needs.
  • Leadership by example; leadership is not a title, leadership is a lifestyle.

Students are taught personal leadership and responsibility, and then these students are thrown into a world where personal leadership does not exist in many organizations. Too many organizations waste time, energy, and money on development programs that are expedited, unfocused, and ineffective.

Leadership is not tangible so leadership is not easily learned or understood.

Great Leadership

Great Leadership programs consist of:

  • Developing and understanding people and how they perform based on coaching, development and praise.
  • Encouraging of follow-up and accountability amongst leadership teams and their followers.
  • Consistent refreshers on leadership styles and methods in order to develop people in an ever changing and developing culture.

I am a leader who is committed to helping to develop the “Net” generation so that the new world of business can succeed.

I tell students and will continue to urge them understand this message:

“Yesterday was a time that business was able to thrive and survive on a foundation of productivity and persistence. Tomorrow is the day that one must realize that people were foundation all along.”

“No one is going to hand you the world on a platter, you need to search for and obtain the world you desire, and then convey that message to the world.”

Emerging Leaders

This means that leaders must realize that our future depends on this new generation of people emerging into the business world and need to take action toward better development to create future growth. This emerging generation must be met with the expectation that they must reach out to others in order to succeed, but be met with a warm hand when they do.

I am committed to inspire a world I desire, are you?

  1. Is there a possibility that fear for job security is a common cause for lacking development in the field of this new generation?
  2. Do you as a leader embrace change, or do you hold on to as much as you can before change pulls you along?
  3. As a “Net” generation worker do you think you have a fighting chance if current leaders don’t accept the “new world” of business, or do you see a great depression in the near future?


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Michael R Stanford is Doctoral Learner at UOP
He does occasional motivational speaking for community colleges
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5 responses to “On Inspiring Future Leaders

  1. Hi Michael, Liked your article a great deal and have one related comment. A long time ago, Peter Drucker, one of our best business consultants, stated: The only business of any business is the development of its people.” This lesson appears to be rapidly disappearing today.

  2. Hi Mike. After nearly 3yrs of experience in leadership development and training, I would have to fundamentally disagree with you. The upcoming generation should not even be our focus. As MIT Sloan Business School professor, Professor Adam T. Richards , wisely said, “don’t look to the future to prepare for the future; look to the present to prepare for the past.” I think he makes a great point which I believe you may have overlooked. Furthermore, the “Net generation” is more or less irrrelevant. They should not expect us to cater to their needs. If we truly want to see growth and development, we should make ourselves as opaque as possible and force them to our level; that is how they will truly learn. If you or anyone you know would like any pointers on this subject, I would be more than happy to sit down and walk you through some of the basic concepts. I look forward to inspiring the next generation of leaders with you! -Xavier

  3. Hello Michael. I think that while you have some absolutely great points in there such as the idea to attempt to mislead the upcoming leaders of the next generation in order to prolong our careers, I believe you missed the main point. The main point of leadership is the ability to be the “boss”. I mean who does love a damn good fight in which you school your employees ass because your his boss? Right? Yeah so just don’t forget the aspect of respect in the workplace. I do counseling and motivational speeches as Ohio state and Michigan state regularly to the management students there and let me tell you, these kids are going to be great, but only after I decided to end my career because of the way I’ve doctored the whole situation. I appreciate your attemp at helping the next generation, but don’t forget that being the boss…is boss. Thanks mike! Contact me at 603 654 5477 if you need advise or counseling after this method changing advise hits home man.

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