Vulnerability, Authenticity & Compassion: Traits Gen Z Look for in a Leader

Employees quit managers, not jobs. Nearly one-third of Millennial workers plan to leave their jobs after the pandemic, and work culture has a significant role to play in their drastic decision. Whether you’re a manager, entrepreneur, or leader, you need to incorporate authenticity, vulnerability, and compassion into your leadership style to retain your Millennial and Gen Z talent.


Gen Z employees tend to value authenticity and open communication. When you share information and guidance authentically and genuinely, it inspires your team and motivates them to give their best. Clearly communicating your mission and vision encourages them to align with a common goal and take ownership of their work.

Authentic leaders build honest relationships with their employees and create a culture where people want to work. They value the input of their team, act with integrity and establish a strong ethical foundation.

Here are five essential qualities of authentic leaders and entrepreneurs:

– Building trust and collaboration

– Honest and direct communication

– Active listening

– Remaining calm under pressure

– Leading with a positive intent


Traditionally, leaders have always been pictured as authority figures whose actions cannot be questioned. But this approach frequently does not work with Millennial and Gen Z employees who believe that leadership is the empowerment of others.

Showing and owning your vulnerability demonstrates your emotional intelligence and helps you earn your team’s trust. Vulnerable and authentic leaders stay calm even during challenging situations and take ownership when things go wrong. This inspires a culture of creativity, innovation, and increased knowledge sharing.

When a leader or entrepreneur embraces vulnerability, their team trusts them more which in turn creates a work culture where employees feel psychologically safe to express themselves freely. It also strengthens your emotional connection and shows your team that you care about them.


When talking about leadership, most people think it’s all about results, but compassion and empathy are crucial—yet often overlooked—elements of leadership. We are all human and can have personal struggles and challenges outside the office so it’s important to practice empathy and compassion towards all stakeholders including your employees and your clients.

Here are a few strategies you can use to express compassion and empathy:

– Show appreciation and encouragement

– Be flexible and understanding

– Offer support during difficult times

– Listen to their problems and challenges and always have an open channel for communication

– Train and nurture your team’s learning and development

– Check-in with your teams and be truly interested in what they have to say


Whether you are an entrepreneur or a leader, trust the process and lead with compassion and empathy. If you want to learn more about how you can become a more effective leader, reach out to me to schedule a consultation.

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