It all starts with empathy

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to go and sit in on a Simon Sinek talk at The RSA House, London.

If you aren’t aware of Simon Sinek, his TED talk ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’ is one of the most viewed video’s on TED.com to date.

Other than knowing the title of the talk, ‘Together is better’, I had no real preconceptions. As Sinek opened with ‘I get asked this a lot, so I’m going to talk about it – Millennials’, I sank into my seat and smiled. It’s a topic our agency have debated, with two of our latest blogs written on it, so I was intrigued to find out his take on it.

The resounding observation from Sinek was that although Millennials are perceived as demanding, entitled narcissists, actually all they really need, is to be led.

He delved into some of the reasoning behind this perception, such as this generation needing instant gratification; hopping from one job to another if they haven’t made an impact in just eight months, instead of tackling the mountain ahead.  Even being able to swipe right on Tinder to be able to get a date… everything today you can get in an instant and this feeds the label of ‘demanding’.

Another reflection was Millennials’ use of technology and how this can impact their social skills. Brought up in the digital world, it’s rare we don’t have a mobile on us, or glued to us for that matter. But Sinek’s view is that this can prevent deep and meaningful relationships happening.

Take a meeting scenario for example – one of the attendees is arriving late so the team are in a room together…waiting. What happens? Most of the team get their phone out, instead of actually having a conversations with those in the room. But what about if you were sat with your next prospective client, but you missed the opportunity because you had your head down, transfixed by your screen. Interestingly, this was the same view expressed by Matt Neal in our previous blog.

Sinek’s vision is that we should be the leaders we wish we had. Millennials aren’t entitled, demanding narcissists, they just need to be taught confidence, patience and coping mechanisms – somethings most organisations don’t do.

It’s about making them feel understood and guiding them. It all starts with empathy.

I came away from this talk with an unbelievable motivation to be a part of this vision and appreciating those who have inspired me along the way so far.

I would love to hear your opinion on this topic, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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