5 Career Problems of Young Leaders

  1. Early Disappointment and Worry
    Young leaders’ job expectations often overshadow reality. Since their educational training may have concentrated on cases where they took top-level executives’ roles, they may now expect to get a lot of responsibility instantly. Rather, they are often placed in conventional, boring jobs until they have established themselves. As a result, young leaders may experience sharp reality shock, become frustrated, and maybe leave the firm. If the organization has painted an overly colorful picture when recruiting, this reality shock may be especially significant.
  1. Passivity and Insensitivity
    The truth is, firms are political. Often, young leaders, like my colleague who recently left Delloite, are either indifferent to organizations’ political aspects or may dislike them. Or they may be submissive, hoping that things will turn out for the best. As a result, they may not actively traverse the organizational context to understand attitudes and relationships and define their own positions. Further, they may be ignorant of the objective criteria by which performance is rated. In some cases, rigid rules such as performance are hard to assess, and superiors may focus on whether the young leaders fits their preconceptions. Speech habits, appearance, managerial style, and other prejudiced measures may be used for evaluation.
  1. Loyalty Dilemmas
    Most people in power value subordinates’ loyalty, differently defined. There are many variants of allegiance. Some see dedication as obedience-subordinates are loyal if they do what they are told. Others interpret loyalty as putting in the effort and long hours to prove faith for the firm. To the old-school bosses, commitment is thriving completion of tasks, or safety of the superior from adverse and ridicule evaluation by others, or giving the boss honest information about potential failures and mistakes. Unfortunately, young leaders often do not know which version of loyalty the firm or superior expects. Sometimes many versions are demanded simultaneously. For example, the superior may demand strict obedience but be angry if submission leads to poor performance. These possibilities and struggles may cause the young leaders to submit to authority and power, change the superior’s expectations, or leave.
  1. Individual Anxiety
    Young leaders may feel anxious. They often realize that, just at the time they are starting to reap the rewards of their jobs, they question the purpose of what they are doing. They may say, “I am making $40,000 a year, but I don’t think what the firm produces has much value to community.” As a result, young leaders may fear that they are “selling out.” These concerns can lead to hard choices.

Young leaders can change their values, appear to be hooligans, or leave their jobs. They may also worry about commitment to the firm. Though they may feel they would profit from adhering to the organization’s norms and having a sense of assurance about their careers, they don’t want to close doors and destroy illusions about opportunities.

Finally, young managers may feel concerned about being reliant on others in the firm. Just at the time in their lives, when they represent psychological independence from parental authority and home, they are becoming dependent on bosses and others in the firm. They may also feel stressed because others in the organization-peer, subordinates, and even superiors are dependent on them.

  1. Moral Dilemmas
    Most young captains face sudden career dilemmas that force them to think about what is moral and immoral. In making humane choices, young leaders may find themselves torn between economic self-interest, obedience to the law, the custom of religious principles, compliance to a superior, and the greatest good for the most significant number.

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