Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

Millenials 2019

(Austin Distel, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Peter Vanham, Media Lead, US and Industries, World Economic Forum


As a new generation rises through the ranks of companies and government, the CEO of Adecco and UAE Minister of Education found that leading them requires learning from them and inspiring them, more than telling them what to do.

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

As a new generation rises through the ranks of companies and government, the CEO of Adecco and UAE Minister of Education found that leading them requires learning from them and inspiring them, more than telling them what to do.

Learning from the Millennial generation and inspiring them matters more than telling them what to do, the CEO of Adecco and UAE Minister of Education said in a Conversation on Leadership 4.0. Such “humble” leadership is worth it, because it provides mutual benefits: “My most glorious moment as a leader is when I can teach something to my kids,” Adecco’s Alain Dehaze, a father of four, said.

Millennials, the world’s first generation to have largely grown up with internet and mobile phones, has racked up a lot of negative press over the years. Called the “Me, me, me generation,” by TIME a few years back for their knack for taking selfies and branding themselves online, they are now increasingly seen as a disloyal group of employees, changing jobs up to five times before turning 30.

“That is one of the challenges of this world going forward,” Alain Dehaze, Chief Executive Officer of HR services company The Adecco Group told Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Higher Education and Advanced Skills of the United Arab Emirates. “The young generation does not want to belong to a company. They want to identify with a purpose. And if they’re no longer interested, they leave.”

Learning is a two-way street

That doesn’t mean it’s a burden to work with the young generation, Dehaze said. To the contrary: The young people Adecco hires through its “CEO for a Month” programme, for example, “reflect on how we lead, and what we can change,” he said, and “that is very refreshing.” It allows for a sort of inverse learning, where senior leaders can learn from those who are just dipping their toes in the world of work.

Alain Dehaze, Chief Executive Officer, Adecco Group, Switzerland speaking during the during the Session:

Experience can’t be gained overnight

But Dehaze does insist on conveying the crucial lessons he learned along the way. “You need time to learn, to get experience,” he said. “If you always move, you don’t build the capabilities to have an impact in the world.” The challenge for senior leaders like him is to keep the young people interested, so they can stay and learn, and become resilient. “That process is quite a challenge,” he said.

If convincing millennials in a corporate environment is difficult, it’s even harder in government, Al Falasi said. Before becoming Minister, he ran a renewable energy company. Then, reaching quarterly goals of growth or yearly goals on profitability kept everyone focused, including the younger employees. But working in government, it is harder to find such quantifiable targets.

Double down on the sense of purpose

“Working in government is not the most attractive option, Al Falasi said. The only viable option is to double down on the sense of purpose when working with millennials. “You have no choice but to inspire them,” he said. “You need to give them enough space to do what they want.” His solution: to allow for employees to set one of their 4-5 KPIs themselves and devote considerable time to it.

Stay humble

But Al Falasi also noted that it is important to stay humble – especially as a leader – and to keep learning. As a leader, “you get consumed by your own title very easily,” he said. But to continue to inspire a new generation, you constantly need to be in a self-learning mode. In a new era of leadership, “you never graduate,” he said. “Getting a degree is only a part of the road.”

Set an example worth following

Ultimately, leaders must set an example to follow for the next generation. Dehaze does so too by exemplifying a work-life balance. “I want to sleep seven hours per night,” he said. And I anchor everyone in my company to do that, too. Don’t expect me to read a presentation for the next morning if you send it at 11 at night.”

There is one thing though that keeps him up at night, though: how to attract and retain the right talent.

Read more about #amnc19 here.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Human rights breaches in Iran, Egypt and Tanzania

Not faith, ‘but those who manipulate the faithful’ driving wedge between religions, UN-backed forum in Baku told

European Commission increases support for the EU’s beekeeping sector

Civil society groups matter for Cambodia’s sustainable development: UN expert

Portugal: Budget MEPs back €4.66 m in job-search aid for 730 redundant workers

UN agency chiefs issue ‘call to action’ on behalf of refugee children

‘InvestEU’ programme: big boost for jobs, growth and investment

A Sting Exclusive: “Junior Enterprises themselves carry out projects focusing on the environment”, JADE President Daniela Runchi highlights from Brussels

Berlin’s governing elite leads Eurozone to recession to win the September election in Germany

Tobacco in Pakistan: is it worth to burn your money?

End fossil fuel subsidies, and stop using taxpayers’ money to destroy the world: Guterres

Our idea of what makes a company successful needs to change. And it starts with making waste expensive

Deadly violence at Israel-Gaza border escalates dangerously: UN chief condemns in strongest terms

UN chief calls for ‘solidarity, compassion and action’ on World Refugee Day

Supermarket supply chains are driving poverty and inequality. We can do better

Could a Digital Silk Road solve the Belt and Road’s sustainability problem?

UN ceasefire monitoring chief tours Yemeni port of Hudaydah

The fatal consequences of troika’s blind austerity policy

The Banking Union divides deeply the European Union

COP24: green, gender focus, as UN’s crucial climate change conference gets underway

Economic sentiment and business climate stagnate in miserable euro area

Back to the basics for the EU: Investment equals Growth

Reforms in Lithuania are reinforcing economic growth but boosting productivity is still a challenge

Tackling ‘deeply worrying’ global rise in anti-Semitism is a job for all societies everywhere, says UN chief

Tackle ‘tsunami of hatred’ across the world urges Guterres, to counter anti-Semitism, racism and intolerance

‘Still time’ to stop a ‘bloody battle’ for Libya’s capital, insists Guterres

These charts show where the world’s refugees came from in 2017 – and where they’re heading

Costa Rica has doubled its tropical rainforests in just a few decades. Here’s how

The next Google in biotech: will it be Chinese?

Yemen update: UNICEF chief condemns attack in Taiz that claims lives of seven children

Illegal fishing: EU lifts Taiwan’s yellow card following reforms

The European Sting Cookie Policy

Eurozone: How safe are our deposits? Which banks will survive?

We have to learn to trust Artificial Intelligence. Here’s how

Towards a climate-neutral Europe: EU invests over €10bn in innovative clean technologies

Stable growth momentum in the OECD area

Encouraging progress made in 2018, in ‘zero tolerance’ effort to end sexual exploitation and abuse across UN

Politics needs to “Youth UP” in order the ensure the future of our democracies

“Joining forces to #BeatPollution”, a Sting Exclusive by the Head of UNEP in Brussels

EU and China seize momentum to enhance trade agreements in response to Trump’s administration

Explained, the economic ties between Europe and Asia

Here are four ways ASEAN can help entrepreneurs thrive – especially women

Security spillovers from Trump’s trade wars: China, Germany prepare for global disorder

Following the World Cup? Then you’re watching high-performing migrants at work

The Shifting Rhythms of Harmonious China: Ancient, Modern & Eternal

In Sweden you can roam anywhere you like, without the landowner’s permission

5 ways to net a sustainable future for aquaculture

MEPs back update of rail passenger rights across EU

Summer JADE Meeting 2015: We came curious, we left inspired

Russia can no longer be considered a ‘strategic partner’, say MEPs

UN affirms ‘historic’ global compact to support world’s refugees

Women’s empowerment ‘essential to global progress’ says Guterres, marking International Day

Global climate change: consequences for human health in Brazilian cities

Microplastics have spread right to the sea bed, study finds

‘Bicycle Kingdom’ makes a comeback, as China seeks solutions to tackle air pollution crisis

Foreign direct investments the success secrete of Eurozone

The strong version of the EU banking union gains momentum

3 ways AI will change the nature of cyber attacks

UN’s Guterres condemns ongoing airstrikes on Syria’s hospitals, medical workers

Lagarde’s metamorphoses, not a laughing matter

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s