Why young people will redefine leadership
As things are changing, fresh ideas and new communities mean that the future of young people is as exciting as ever. We look at how they are leading the charge
“Our generation are natural leaders because we have an entrepreneurial drive that makes us want to be on top” says 22 year old dance teacher Shanice Mears. "Technology and social networks are so advanced in our age that nothing is impossible. We like the idea of being 'disruptive' or challenging the status quo".
With that, she says it’s all about how this generation are leading the charge despite a climate that has changed the way that this generation ‘makes it’. You might think this makes for a challenging landscape for young talent, but in reality, young people are proving over and over that that they’re up for the challenge.
“Our generation are natural leaders because we have an entrepreneurial drive that makes us want to be on top” – Shanice Mears
Michael Makinde has recently set up a campus restaurant, leading a team of student volunteers and chefs, and he believes it’s the ability to communicate in new ways which is key to a new generation’s success. He says they are “more confident in delivering great work, as well as still being able to communicate with their peers”. For him, “a leader should have many enhanced skills including communication, delegation, and honesty.”
So how does the future look in the hands of a generation used to creating something from nothing? Optimistic, if the current DIY 'hustler' generation are anything to go by.
Whether it’s people like Erin Wysocki-Jones, who leads her Oxford rowing team to victory ("Leadership is the ability to unite a team towards a common goal" she says) or an unsigned artist like grime MC Simple Jackson, (“people have to become leaders of their own creations) the message is clear: if you believe in your own projects and ideas, other people will too.
For 26 year old Suleman Sacranie, who started his business in university, and is now a multi-million pound venture, he defines the best leadership skills as delegation, communication, and his number one tip? “The most important thing is not to panic.”
So how do we really define a leader? For those worried that not everyone can be the next Prime Minister, your leadership abilities are actually closer than you might think.
Take Sadhana Burman. Like most 23-year-olds, she was on her fourth cafe job when she took the opportunity to show that her Instagram skills were a selling point. “I suggested we make tester drinks to hand out during the summer to attract custom and it worked very well. I set up social media accounts and began posting tweets and pictures on twitter and Instagram and hosting events. I didn’t really realise that these were ‘leadership’ skills in the professional sense.”
Realising your abilities is key to seeing yourself differently.
As 20-year-old Charlotte McGowan, who runs a mobile food company says, “I think we live in a generation where younger people aim to become leaders and manage to do it without even realising.”
It’s examples like these that reinforce the point that the future will be shaped by people with enthusiasm and hunger to follow their ideas through. Armed with new skills, an eye for innovation, and fresh thinking, young people are making a simple and thrilling point - you can do anything you want, you just might not know it yet.