Generations / demographics Leadership Talent management

The top 5 things next-gen leaders want us to know

What's on the mind of next-gen leaders?  What are their top issues and concerns? What do they want us to know?

Two hundred young professionals weighed in earlier this month at the AICPA EDGE Conference in Las Vegas and had plenty to say. The question is whether we are listening and whether we can handle the truth?

"Older leaders not giving up control" was identified as one of the top five challenges and is a common theme we continue to see in our research. Young professionals believe they are not being given leadership responsibility or leadership development opportunities sufficient to prepare them to take the helm as 10,000 baby boomers retire daily.

The other major insight can be found in the list of "what they want us to know," which is spot-on with the latest workplace research from Gallup, Glassdoor, and Bersin by Deloitte. Here are the top five things they want us to know:

  1. Engage us in your vision and purpose.
  2. Give us more coaching and mentorship.
  3. Give us more transparency.
  4. Give us more leadership development.
  5. Look beyond the billable hour.

Here is the full report from that session, which includes why they love being CPAs, the top challenges they face, the top skills they need, and their insights from the "Future Ready" presentation.


The top five challenges (slide 3) from next-gen leaders are:

  1. Not enough time
  2. Finding and retaining talent
  3. Being reactive vs. proactive
  4. Older leaders not giving up control
  5. Engaging our people

The No. 1 skill identified (slide 12) is the ability to "inspire and motivate others," which is exactly what is needed in this age of the overwhelmed employee.

In our work with young professionals nationally with the AICPA Leadership Academy and our Leadership Academy in Maryland and Virginia, these challenges and issues are consistent and getting more urgent. The question is, will we do anything about it?

We are in the midst of massive changes in the business and accounting landscape (we call The Shift Change) which require new approaches to leadership and new tools. These lists are far from unreasonable and reflect the fact that "what got us here, won't get us there."

We are committed to helping make this 'shift change' and offering the tools and techniques to equip this next generation of leaders. Let us know if we can help you.

Resources for next-gen leaders:


Thomas Hood