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How can business leaders develop new ones? Advice they can give to recent graduates


Business leaders who welcome recent college graduates into their organization see themselves in the young faces that walk through the door. Like these new graduates, senior executives and department heads have already made the difficult transition to the corporate world, taking on their first professional job with a combination of optimism, excitement and nervousness.

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When they were much younger, some of today’s leaders had the good fortune of being mentored or at least encouraged by superiors. Others weren’t so lucky and felt like they had to go it alone. Maybe their bosses were too busy.

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Either way, those on the cutting edge of business today have a great opportunity. Although business leaders have things on their to-do list, they need to dedicate time to their new team members in order to help them grow and, by extension, positively influence the future of their business. Investing time in nurturing, encouraging and building the confidence of these new graduates entering the workforce is one of the most impactful tasks leaders can undertake.

Many of these graduates aspire to become business leaders, and in fact, I believe a huge set of hurdles they recently overcame gave them a strong start on this career path. These young professionals are already leaders.

How is?

The Class of 2022, like the Classes of 2020 and 2021, endured a trying experience that previous classes had not had to deal with – the COVID-19 pandemic. Staying on track to graduate required management skills, discipline, hard work, and determination – all qualities successful business leaders must possess to be competitive and successful.

Advice for entrepreneurs to develop new ones

Now these talented, bright-eyed graduates are looking for seasoned leaders to help show them the way – to make them better leaders than they already are and to position them to lead companies in various capacities one day in a day. constantly changing environment. rhythmic market. Here are some things corporate leadership groups should do to uplift, educate, and inspire new grads and ease their transition into the corporate world.

  • Focus on resilience. The pandemic experience they had in college helps in this context. Adversity comes to us in many ways professionally and personally, and the sooner we learn to deal with it and develop resilient tenacity, the better the chances of surviving and growing in the business. It’s easy for a young person trying to find their way in the corporate world to get derailed when things don’t go their way.
  • Focus on adaptability. In today’s ever-changing business world, adaptability is a must. Leaders should talk to their recent graduates about developing a constant growth mindset, always keeping an eye on how to use the skills in another context. Encourage them to be open-minded about their future; the position they seek in three years may be eliminated, and the position they seek may be much better than the one they originally had in mind. Instill in them the ability to recognize that all challenges in terms of changing or expanding roles are opportunities for learning and growth.
  • Tell them it’s all about communication. Everyone looks at the chef. A leader knows that everything he says, and how he says it, is important. This is great insight to give a young person who is just starting to communicate with people at different levels of the organization. And it’s not just her voice, but her body language and non-verbal cues that send a message. It is essential to have a good awareness of the signals you emit. A sincere smile, good eye contact, and unhurried conversation can build confidence.
  • Make it more about relationships than money. Many of us want to get big raises and/or move up the corporate ladder. But too often, young newbies equate corporate leadership with dollar signs, and there’s so much more to it. Leaders can teach them early on how to build relationships — both within the company and with customers — and how that’s the most important and satisfying part of a successful leader’s journey. To be good at your job and to be a great leader one day, a positive attitude is essential and respect for people is essential to being passionate about your business.
  • Show them how to add value. Taking relationships one step further, leaders should emphasize to recent graduates that providing value to others means doing more for the people you help, and less for you. Focus on how the company’s mission can positively impact others before thinking about how it can advance your career. This kind of prioritizing thinking—putting your heart in the right place—can reduce insecurities and pressure.

These new graduates have incredible opportunities ahead of them, and leaders – perhaps remembering people who made a difference in their own lives long ago – have a tremendous opportunity to help these wide-eyed young people make a solid transition and launch them towards their potential .

About Barbara Bell

Barbara Bell (, author of Flying Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High, was one of the first female graduates of the US Naval Academy and the US Naval Test Pilot School. Now she is working to empower the next generation of female leaders. In 1992, Bell and her fellow Airmen traveled to Capitol Hill to help successfully repeal combat exclusion laws, opening fighter jets and ships to women in the military. Bell holds a BS in Systems Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, an MS in Astronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School, an MA in Divinity from Marylhurst University, and a Ph.D. in Education from Vanderbilt University. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Leadership at Vanderbilt, where she is developing the next generation of leaders for our world.