Generation Alpha describes those born between 2010 and 2024 – the most digitally savvy and globally connected generation the world has ever seen. We gave them the name Generation Alpha because they are not a return to the old, but the start of a whole new generation (and the largest in history), born entirely in a new century. While today they comprise our current generation of babies and children, over the next decade the oldest of them will begin to enter the workforce.
Three steps to raising Generation Alpha leaders
Parents, teachers and leaders of Generation Alpha have an important role to play in preparing this generation to be global leaders. This generation will need to be resilient because they are set to across more trends, careers and change than any prior generation. They’re going to have to be adaptive as well, to thrive amidst all of this change. And they will also need a good understanding of diversity, because we have more diverse communities, workplaces, teams and customer bases than ever before. Here are three steps to take when raising Generation Alpha leaders.
The first step is to engage Generation Alpha. To do that, we need to understand them and the unique times in which they have been shaped. We’ve got to connect with them and make sure we communicate in ways that speak their language. What worked for Gen Y may not work for Generation Alpha, and what was effective in a leadership style in the 20th Century is less effective in the 21st. We have to engage with where this generation are at.
Generation Alpha need the skills and the competencies that will enable them to thrive in this era. How we equip this generation is again going to be different to how we did it in the past. Generation Alpha don’t need the authority structures or same understanding of hierarchies, because we’re in more collaborative times. As the most digitally savvy generation ever, we’ve got to equip them with people skills. In the coming years, if someone says, ‘well I’m just not a people person’, that will be a problem, because leaders lead people. They don’t lead technology. While we are moving into a world where there will be more robotics, the robots don’t need someone to empathise with them, people do. Therefore, equipping this generation with transferable and people skills will be important.
Leaders training the next generation must ultimately hand over the responsibility. They need to trust those in training and give them an opportunity to step up. It doesn’t always need to be those who are older or more experienced that have the ideas or speak first. By giving younger generations opportunities or stretch challenges, we enable them to grow. Not everything will work successfully the first time, and that is ok – it’s how we all learn. By engaging, equipping and entrusting Generation Alpha, we can set them up well for leadership in an increasingly global context.