Leadership Lessons from Egypt

Over at the TNLT blog, Tim Elmore makes some interesting observations about the power struggling occurring in Egypt.  He notes that most of the protesters are under the age of 30 and have successfully used the social networking medium to advance their cause.

The Youth Bulge

According to Elmore, Egypt is experiencing a swelling of youth, or a youth bulge, defined as when young people make up more than 30 percent of the total population. And this influential Middle Eastern nation is not alone.   Today, 66 nations meet the criteria of a population where youth makes up more than 30 percent. Of those 66 nations, 60 of them are experiencing violence or civil war.

Command and Control Doesn’t Work

Apparently, the kind of turmoil presently being experienced in Egypt is typical when a youthful population is under a regime that that only knows how to lead via “command and control,” through intimidation and power.

To those of us who study the Millennial generation, or those born between 1980-1995, this hardly comes as a surprise.  For we understand the Millennials – globally – to be a pretty outspoken bunch.  They are not content to wait their turn to express their opinions and make a difference when they’re older.  Rather, they want to be listened to and accommodated now.

Solicit the Millennial Point of View

Those leaders who are managing and/or mentoring teams of Millennials should keep this in mind.  Acting like a dictator (i.e. because I said so) or making decisions simply because they support the status quo will not fly with this group.  Your approach must include a continuous feedback loop and the opportunity for Millennial employees to discuss and provide input on company and team developments as well as individual assignments.

By demonstrating that you care about young professionals’ points of view and feel they have something valuable to contribute, you may well prevent your own civil war from erupting in your organization.

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