Having recently had dinner with the Rotterdam University MBA Program’s leader Milton Souza, we shared our passionate interest in leadership in the true sense. That conversation inspired me to write. Milton has completed his thesis on servant leadership. The question I had for him, and which led to a lengthy debate was “How do we provide leadership to a generation who are not interested in our point of view?” In order to learn about leading this generation, we have no choice but to listen to their needs. Therein lies the challenge to teachers and parents. The generation we come from will have to open our minds, our eyes and our hearts to embrace change, for it is being driven by forces we may not fully understand. Here is a link to appraise you of the skills workers will require by 2020. http://www.top10onlinecolleges.org/work-skills-2020/ It speaks of virtual, collaborative and connected teams whereby massive emphasis is on multidisciplinary staff who use tech and creative thinking to work along side others in virtual teams across the globe to generate results using game based applications. What this means is we will encounter teens and young adults all over with tablets and other devices, seemingly messing around in coffee shops, who will be highly engaged in creating strategy, delivering solutions and leading product launches in New York from Malaysia and vice versa. How do we lead these people who think there is no box, let alone out of the box. Of course, unless we speak to them, we will not adapt quickly enough and they will create a way forward that suits them, and not necessarily us. So it is vital that we turn our idea of leadership on its head and begin to serve those who will ultimately lead us into the new world, our children, employees and up and new young colleagues. We need to serve them in ways which make it okay for them to create their own unstructured structures, to allow them access to the global economy, to listen to their ideas as to how we should manage their output, their remuneration and their environment. The entire concept of managing people needs to be turned on it’s head. The servant leader listens, learns, and follows whilst guiding. After all, when your IT director is 21 and lives in Bangladesh, has no desire to conform to your norms because she does not understand them, yet delivers incredible results with her virtual global team. You may be stretched out of your comfort zone and feel frustrated. It is from this perspective that we need to lead change by serving those we lead, create opportunities, invest in open source education, not rigid levels and hierarchical achievement. The so called lost generation are only lost because we do not understand that they do not need our paradigm of achievement and will never feel good enough or free unless they can design their own future, their own world of work and overcome their social challenges in ways we may think strange, yet work for them perfectly. They will formulate large communities of multi cultural individuals who meet in cyberspace and connect vitually. That is how they will get the job done and are currently doing so. They know what they want, and are simply in need of a space in which to create it amongst themselves. They are crying out for the ability to work from home, to not have to sit in traffic, to have free superfast wifi in their homes and to design a game that will generate bottom line organisational results. Anyone for a tweet up? By Mark Smith Coach | Father | Facilitator | Servant Leader