Anyone brought up in the 80's and 90's couldn't escape the influence of Freedom. It has been the backdrop of their growing up and now, as they step into leadership positions, drives the way they choose to lead. So I wanted to share my thoughts on why freedom is a core value to this wonderful generation that it GenX.
Freedom as a right
Our Grandparents all played a part in WW2 - the war of freedom. We were taught to respect the sacrifices they had made for us, so that we could live in a free world and enjoy the freedoms that come with that. Their own children, our parents, fought for civil liberties and challenged old thinking about what it is to be rich or poor, black or white, male or female, straight or gay.
We didn't know we were being influenced, but Freedom was everywhere. To live the life we chose to live was our right. Back then, it was still the place of the brave and courageous who broke barriers and spoke up for what they believed in, and thanks to them, we were being taught valuable lessons. Lessons about being true to yourself, standing up for what you believe and following your true north - all thanks to those brave souls that showed us how.
Freedom to speak
Though this generation have been nicknamed the forgotten generation, the ones that no-one notices or even thinks about, as we step into our mid-life, we are finding our voice. We have been steadily influencing from the sides, but now we are empowered to speak our truth.
It's thanks to some brilliant truth speakers of our past that etched into out subconscious about speaking with passion, purpose and vision. If we have an opinion, we know we need to back it up with truth and substance - and now we have everything we need to speak freely. With age comes wisdom, so now is the time to speak up.
I always remember Bob Geldolf appearing on my TV speaking up, using our language, to call upon us to help others who are struggling. The Ethiopian famine shape us in so many ways, giving us a global outlook and an understanding of what can be achieved when we join together. Yet it was his words filled with passion for a cause he truly believed in that is etched in our minds. Now we are finding the courage to speak up for what we believe and leading with freedom to speak, encouraging others to lean in, express yourself. and speak your truth
Freedom to be
The 70's began a new wave of pop stars wearing androgynous outfits, men with long hair, girls with skin heads, moving into the 80's new romantics with pearls, frills and makeup. Growing up it seemed normal to see Freddie Mercury wearing womens clothes in the video for I want to break free, or Boy George or Annie Lennox expressing themselves. Madonna was challenging women to express themselves, wear suits and suspenders if they wanted and not be pushed into playing the stereotypical good girl. Erasure, Petshop Boys and Jimmy Sommerville were just great pop stars, we didn't care who they loved. George Michael say about freedom and we didn't care when he came out as gay. It is thanks to them, the trailblazers, those role models, that we believe in "live and let live"
The message was be who you want to be.
It's no wonder we encourage diversity and inclusion in the work place. It's no surprise that we believe in meritocracy. We take everyone on face value, and are more interested in who they are and what they do than how big their house is or what car they drive.
We love to see people following their dreams, following heir passions and paddling their own canoe.
Freedom to work
X-Gen love to work anytime, anyplace, anywhere and don't want to be confined by a 9-5, stuck at a desk and restricted in anyway. Infact, they hate micromanagement and refuse to be that kind of boss themselves.
- It might be because they saw their parents burn out, come home stressed or be slaves to the daily commute.
- It might be because they started out their careers in traditional working conditions and hated having to trade work for fun times.
- It might be because they didn't want their work to get in the way of other meaningful life experiences.
- It might be because they like to be the masters of their own destiny.
Whatever the reason, this generation pushed boundaries about what work is and how it should be done. They challenged thinking around how to get the best out of people. They found solutions using technology to help them work smarter and work better. They innovated and created opportunities to give themselves more freedom.
And as they step up into leadership positions, we will see freedom, flexibility, diversity and inclusion become the norm. We will see a new approach to leadership which I call LeaderX.
LeaderX will be released on 26th March 2020.
It is a call to X-Gen to step up, take control and lead with impact.
We need a new kind of leader, and X-Gen are just the people to do it.