In the November 2012 issue of Inc Magazine Jeremy Quittner offers an intriguing summary of strategies that companies are using successfully to engage and motivate Millennials.
This generation of workers prefers electronic communication — email, instant messaging, and video or web conferencing — over face-to-face meetings. They also are reluctant to embrace organizations built around traditional, hierarchical management. Instead, they are best motivated in collaborative settings with a minimum of bureaucracy and management overhead.
This is leading many forward-thinking companies to experiment with alternative leadership styles. Among the more interesting approaches that Quittner mentions is one "in which leaders emerge on a project-by-project basis, according to their particular strengths and experiences."
Borrowing Leadership Lessons from Special Forces Operations
Interestingly, this approach has an established history in military special forces communities, where the nature of a particular mission determines which member of the team should lead. Such a fluid concept of leadership stands in marked contrast to typical military leadership philosophy, where the person with the highest rank is by default the leader.
Quittner does not draw a parallel with the military world, but he does contrast this "project-by-project" style of leadership with the heavy management layers of traditional corporations like Boeing. He also cites examples of companies who have adopted a hybrid approach, blending the strengths of hierarchical management with the flexibility of this newer, more adaptive style of leadership.
Very thought-provoking ideas. You can see the full article online at Inc.com.