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4 Principles to Help Managers Prepare Future Leaders

For some time now, federal agencies have been focused on recruitment strategies to attract young talent. Today, however, the focus is shifting to the preparation of young leaders for fast approaching leadership positions. Many managers are asking – when do we need to start developing our emerging leaders? The answer is YESTERDAY!

Statistics show that Millennials will make up 50 percent of the American workforce by 2020, and 75 percent of the global workforce by 2030, meaning managers must understand what this new generation values in the workplace and strive to meet those expectations. We are in the midst of a Baby Boomer diaspora, and, according to Training Magazine, every day more than 10,000 baby boomers reach the age of 65. How can managers ensure continuous mission accomplishment when our pool of knowledge leaves? Simple – prepare emerging leaders to take on imminent leadership positions.

The following 4 key principles will help managers prepare their young employees for leadership positions.


1. Extend the expiration date of younger employees. 

Managers believe that Millennials are going to stay only 2 to 3 years in their agencies, so they do not want to invest in their development. Yet, this practice creates a vicious cycle where organizations do not provide training to employees because they might leave, and employees leave because they do not get the training they need. According to a recent “Cost of Millennial Retention Study,” employee turnover costs employers between $15,000 -$25,000 per departing Millennial. Young leaders value development, and if managers do not provide developmental opportunities, they are going to leave. In order to prepare young leaders for the challenges of tomorrow, organizations need to start development on day one. Remember, there’s no time like the present. Build your emerging leaders now, and you will ensure success for tomorrow.  


2. Turn bias into belief. 

Managers need to understand that young employees are not kids who are lazy or narcissistic. Rather, they are just different than their predecessors. Turn bias into belief by creating support groups for emerging leaders. Remember that potential is about future performance, not past performance. Create a safe environment where the new generation is not only challenged, but also nurtured.  When you care about your young employees’ futures, they care back and tend to stay longer at jobs.


3. Embrace the Mentoring mindset.  

Champion your young employees and they will build the future of your organization.  Dealing with emerging leaders should not be an exclusive responsibility for human resources or learning and development departments. When you encourage managers and supervisors to get involved in the process, mentoring has the potential to become sponsoring, which, according to research from the Center for Talent Innovation, people with sponsors are 23 percent more likely to move up in their career than those without sponsors. Managers can use mentoring opportunities to explore, learn, and maximize the potential of emerging leaders. Through mentoring, managers can challenge young employees to come up with better processes, and allow them to use creativity to address issues.


4. Teach younger employees to handle change like a pro. 

A millennial Senior Executive once told me: “Leaders must allow young employees to operate and make decisions under chaos, because that’s what you do as an executive.” How young employees handle chaos will determine your organization’s success. One way to teach this principle of chaos to calm is to provide detail assignments for emerging leaders.

Managers need to sponsor and develop emerging leaders from day one and provide them the opportunity to make smart mistakes, make smart decisions, and take smart risks. Young employees have the power to change your organization, especially when managers and supervisors believe in them.


Written by Miguel Joey Aviles, Chief Learning Officer of Young Government Leaders (YGL), a non-profit organization providing a voice to young emerging leaders in the federal government. As the Founder of YGL University, he provides visionary and transformational leadership with a sharp focus on the execution of learning and developmental initiatives that support the advancement of more than 10,000 members across the country.  You can follow him on Twitter @Miguejoeyaviles or connect with him on LinkedIn

To learn more about Young Government Leaders’ work to increase employees’ commitment to and passion for public service, and to join for free, visit www.younggov.org

Posted in Young Gov

Tags: Young Government Leaders, YGL, management




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