Introducing the EmpowerMentor: How a New Generation of Leader is Changing the Way We Work

In the early 19th century, Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle found himself in a state of cultural bewilderment. From his quarters at University of Edinburgh, the famed writer described a “mighty change” that was causing great disruption around the world. “Men,” he wrote had “grown mechanical in head and in heart, as well as in hand.”

The prodigious shift that Carlyle described, of course, was the Industrial Revolution—a period between 1760 and 1820 that ushered in a new era of commerce—although he never once used the term. And for a good reason: it wasn’t coined until 1884—more than sixty years after the burgeoning epoch concluded and 3 years after Carlyle himself died.

The annoying thing about a revolution is that you don’t realize you’re in one until it’s over, or, at the very least, until it’s nearing an end. Triggered by the convergence of necessity and capacity, a transformation so large renders most people paralyzed—unable to decipher between fear and opportunity. But it doesn’t have to.

We are, at this very moment, in the middle of our own revolution—a workplace revolution.

As baby boomers retire and Millennials and Centennials take the helm, organizations are being forced to contort in strange and unfamiliar ways. Fueled by mission and motivated by high-touch, immersive experiences, this emerging ruling class has created what Carlyle might refer to as a “mighty change” and, along the way, has birthed a new breed of leader: the EmpowerMentor.

Free from the tethers of outdated management practices, the EmpowerMentor champions a more expansive, diverse definition of success—one that’s rooted in humanity and built on three key pillars: personal growth (i.e., because of us my world is better), tribal influence (i.e., because of us our world is better), and social impact (i.e., because of us the world is better).

Passionate in the notion that personal fulfillment and professional prosperity can and must coexist, the EmpowerMentor believes in work-life fusion—not work-life balance—and embodies the following eight principles:

  1. Purpose: The mission matters
  2. Identity: Millennials and Centennials are the most diverse and fluid generation
  3. Adaptation: A career should never be static
  4. Responsiveness: Communication is the first anchor of trust
  5. Advocacy: Passion fuels, strategy rules
  6. Autonomy: Independence breeds loyalty in the EmpowerMentor
  7. Vision: Structured goals and expectations
  8. Betterment: Educational development that’s applicable to their work-life fusion

There’s no doubt that the Industrial Revolution resulted in many positive advancements for society but producing a worker who was “mechanical in head, heart…and hand” was not one of them. It’s my belief that this current revolution, ours, will embolden another kind of leader—one who appreciates a holistic professional journey and helps bridge the gap between who we are and what we do.

Michael Parrish DuDell  is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and the bestselling author of Shark Tank Jump Start Your Business—the official book from ABC’s hit show Shark Tank on how to successfully launch and grow a company from concept to cash. Michael helps companies and leaders build future-focused organizations and connect with a new generation of consumer.