The key characteristic of a leader is foresight. The reason they can lead is that they see things not just as they are, but as they will be.
The emerging generations (Generation Z and Generation Alpha) are the most uncertain about the future, having never lived through a crisis of this scale or magnitude before. Therefore, it is important for parents and leaders of the emerging generations to provide context, reassurance and leadership during this crisis.
The most important qualities of a leader during a crisis
According to our research, the most important qualities of a leader during a crisis include:
Leading Gen Z through a defining global event
This type of leadership is especially important in the areas the emerging generations are most likely to dwell – in a home, work and education context. COVID-19 is significantly impacting Generation Z today and into the future, for they are our students of today and workforce of tomorrow. In 2020, Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2009) are aged between 11 and 25 and are moving through some of their key education years, while Generation Y comprise a third of the workforce. Ensuring that clear and confident communication is maintained will help these generations to understand the changes around them and be best positioned to respond in the future.
Another way we can lead the next generation is to be aware of the fact they feel less emotionally resilient than older generations. In times of uncertainty and change, it is important for leaders to be checking in with people regularly about their wellbeing. This is even truer for the emerging generations who have indicated they feel less emotionally resilient and more uncertain about the unfolding COVID-19 situation than their older counterparts.