A Millennial Perspective on Servant Leadership

Leadership is a tricky word – it means a lot of different things to different people.

Recently I attended the Servant Leadership Winter Conference in downtown San Diego. A few McKinney team members attended and I think we all walked away with a lot of valuable information and tools for working together more effectively as true Servant Leaders.

Servant Leadership as a business model has many supporters and profitable companies in support of its leadership and management style. We heard from the CEOs of Popeyes, Kindred Healthcare, and Datron, all of which talked about the value of building up those around you and watching more than sales go up.

Leadership is a tricky word – it means a lot of different things to different people. Some of these interpretations come from generational differences. Olivia McIvor started the conference with her talk on “Stacking the Generational DECK: Learning from One Another”. It was fascinating as she asked the room of managers, CEOs, and leaders what they thought of their own generations and others. GenY (or Millennials) were starting to get a really bad rep. I thought to myself, “If this is about us being ‘entitled, lazy, and social media focused’ I am going to find a Starbucks and come back later.” Luckily McIvor started her presentation on “why” we are all the way we are. She pointed out that we all have grown up in different times, with different heroes, different education levels, job opportunities, and with different parents. These situations create a ripple effect on how we parent and how that affects the next generations.

So thank you to GenY parents for the following:
• You told us we could be anything we want to be – We are going to be a Social Media and CSR consultants
• You told us to explore the world before settling down, gave us passports at an early age to do so– We studied abroad and are more global than any previous generation
• You got married at a young age, worked night and day for your company and told us to try new things before settling down – We eagerly try everything and have multiple careers gaining skills and experiences you can’t get by climbing the ladder
• You encouraged us to volunteer and serve others – We continue to volunteer and give our time and talents for social causes even while working full time
• You instilled your values of human and civil rights – We work to take those further creating not only tolerance but acceptance of differences
• You worked hard to give us access to everything and everything has access to us – We are constantly learning and engaging in things happening around the world…
…all of these values and skills we bring to the workplace.

Olivia’s breakdown of each generation and how it affects our workplace environment was spot on. I sat there making my lists of things I needed to do for my multiple roles at McKinney Capital & Advisory as well as with my nonprofit in Uganda, Kimera Orphanage, and a leadership conference for GenY young professionals, OurGenY, along with grant writing for a NGO in South Africa, Farm & Garden Trust. This is a typical GenY workload – anything but lazy or entitled.

One take away – If you are a GenY – ask for a mentor, and if you are a Baby Boomer or older – don’t waste what you know – pass it on and see what we can do with it!

Thanks to Olivia McIvor: http://www.oliviamcivor.com/

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