Recently, leadership ‘Guru’ Simon Sinek made some controversial comments about millennials in the workplace and why they seem to be struggling. Many people have lots to say about Generation Y, such as they are lazy, self entitled, their attitude sucks, they leave the office at 5pm and dont reply to emails at the weekends. The (unfair) list goes on and on. Simon Sinek said
“I know plenty of millennials who’ve gone to their bosses asking for a promotion, but openly saying they only want the title, not a pay-rise. The reason is that many millennials feel the need to show on Facebook and LinkedIn that they’re rising through the ranks quicker than anyone else – seeing a peer get a promotion inevitably creates stress that your career isn’t progressing fast enough”
Now whilst I do agree that social media creates unnecessary pressure and can make you feel insecure about where you are in life and career-I do think the comments about self-entitlement and that millennials are taking the work-life balance thing “too far” is actually an unfair stereotype.
The truth is, millennials are probably the most over qualified generation but the least paid upon entry, the least likely to get a mortgage in their 20s (especially in London with a deposit of £100K needed for a first time buyer in the Capital) they also have smaller pensions and are basically the ones suffering from the effects of the financial crisis that happened in 2008!
I know from our work, that many millennials or recent graduates can become disheartened with their career and their position in their workplace. Some millennials or actually anyone can feel that unless they are part of the Senior Leadership Team at work that they are not “leaders’ or “influential”.
Well, you may be mistaken.
There are many ways that you can actually lead from the “bottom”.
I have been featured in a one page spread in Look Magazine and we have partnered twice with Cosmopolitan magazine (The worlds most popular women’s magazine) Do you know who recommended myself and our organisation to the Editors? The interns!
The interns at these organisations were asked for women’s organisations and blogs that were the best at empowering women in the UK and because their interns had gone to our events and read our blogs they vouched for us! It is truly amazing. What is even more amazing is that the Editor’s trusted them and listened to their recommendations. That is real power and leadership.
So if you feel that you are not in an official position of leadership but have the urge to Boss it up at work. Here are my top tips on how anyone can lead from the bottom upwards.
Know your power!
CEOs, Directors and Managers are busy people who are usually filling up their time with strategy, fighting fires, meeting clients and getting new business. They rarely have the time to know what is trending in their sector or society or to have their fingers on the pulse at all times. This is where you come in…
If you are not at this Senior level, then make it your business to know what is going on in your sector. Take the time to read the news every morning, attend social and networking events, scroll through social media to read the latest news and just make sure you keep up to date with what is hot.
That way you can feel confident in making recommendations and suggestions and you can carve a name for yourself as the go to person for what is current in your sector and scene therefore your organisation is not left behind and keeps their finger on the pulse. I am not saying you don’t have work to do, but your capacity is going to be more than a Senior member of staff so utilise it and most importantly OWN it!
One advantage you may have if you have less responsibility at work or at home is that you can be more flexible when certain emergencies arise at work. These emergencies need a superhero and if that person is you, this will give you more profile, respect and experience.
For example, there may be a last minute client deadline that your leadership team need support with by staying late at work. Or perhaps, they need someone to travel overseas at short notice and you can do this. Or, your Boss was supposed to speak on a panel at an event but is swamped with work but you happen to be free and can replace them instead. If you are able to be flexible and put your hand up for these situations then do it!
The great thing about humans, is that each and every single one of us are all different. So when you are new to an organisation, to the workplace or a particular role then the advantage you have is a fresh perspective. So own this instead of being intimidated and self conscious about it. You can actually shape things at your workplace by coming up with new ideas or more efficient ways of doing things which could even potentially save your employer money. Now that is leadership: when you can save the company some coins!
To me leadership is about having influence, and you don’t have to have a fancy title to do that, so you should start leading today wherever you are in the rankings of your workplace.
If you want some serious girl boss leadership motivation, come along to our event with the Founder of Lucy Choi London (her shoes are in our header image) on Wednesday 22nd November as part of our ‘I am Mogul Pop-up festival’. Find out how she has built her brand and get to shop exclusively at her Mayfair boutique with a glass of champs and up to 50% off a range of styles!
Click here for limited tickets
Founder, Girls Talk London