5 Gen Y Tips for Better Leadership

Last Updated Apr 6, 2009 4:33 PM EDT

Think leadership skills are shaped by rules set in stone? Think again.

Leadership approaches change from situation to situation, and especially from generation to generation. The traditional top-down leadership approach that used to rule the workplace is giving way to a more teamwork-oriented approach embraced by Generation Y workers.

Penelope Trunk, writing on Brazen Careerist, thinks we could all benefit from thinking like Gen Y and practicing these five traits of leadership in the new millennium.

  1. Make yourself a source of information. Speak up, often. Don't be afraid to put forth an opinion -- even if you're proven wrong later.
  2. Expect your ideas to resonate due to merit, not rank. In the Web 2.0 world, all ideas are on equal footing. Your title or resume don't matter as much as the quality of what you put forward.
  3. Get good at following. Great leaders understand the art of occasionally letting others lead the way. Look to your peers to elevate you, says Trunk, rather than trying to climb up some external ranking system.
  4. Sell from the inside out. Top leaders sell by being part of a team. Think like a cheerleader. Work with others rather than barking orders and insisting on running the show.
  5. Be authentic in situations where authenticity is most difficult. Don't use the force of BS, says Trunk. Convey your true self. Get some public-speaking training to help you present your real personality and strengths.
What other ways can you lead with a more modern approach? Share your ideas in the comments section.
  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for AnchorDesk.com and writes regularly for Law.com and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.