Issue - July/August 2022


The Next Generation of Leaders is Here

Luca Mencarelli, General Manager, USP Relocations Thailand

Every company nowadays must start considering who will be their next leaders. A few years from now, most leaders will be millennials. Younger and older millennials are shaping the future of our industry, and from my standpoint the ‘transfer of power’ must be done through passion and excitement.

The average age in USP Relocations’ offices (two branches combined) is only 32 years old. I am personally 26 years old and managing a team of 20 young people in our Bangkok office; I feel we are in a good position to ensure long-term stability and continuity. Obviously, being in a leading position at such a young age came with its own challenges. The key point was for me to work on myself; getting professional advice and mentorship to better understand my own strengths and weaknesses, and what kind of leader I am.

When I started USP’s Bangkok branch from scratch, hiring the first full team (operations, sales, packing teams, etc.) had to be done by putting the people first. It has only been about hiring strong and unique personalities—ethics-driven people who will ensure we all have a shared mission and passion. Most USP employees already had previous experience in the industry, but with mixed feelings. My role as a leader was not only to ‘manage’ the day-to-day activities, but also to share with the team the passion I have for the services we provide.

Having such a young staff comes with its pros: the whole team is tech-savy, flexible, adaptable, and we have little resistance to change. I believe the common phrase “teamwork makes the dream work” applies well here at USP, as we all are on the same page, sharing the same vision and values. I like to think we are basically a group of young, dynamic, and passionate people sharing the same goals in a healthy workplace.

I think there’s no fixed path to become great (young) leaders. It takes a lot of self-reflection, constant learning, training, and humility to be a leader. This comes first and foremost with ‘managers’ becoming leaders and simply aiming at the same shared direction. In this new normal working environment, fixed hierarchies are outdated. New generations of employees want their job to matter. They want their views to be considered, and they want to be treated as equals.

I believe a leader is someone who puts himself at the same level as his colleagues and team members. I am always trying to guide and help my colleagues so we can all move forward together, and taking enough time to listen. But I appreciate and I expect every single team member to voice their opinion, speak freely and openly, and be able to make decisions without having to be micro-managed. This is what the next generation of leaders is about in my honest opinion: strong horizontal communication and two-way transparency between management and the team.

I believe younger generations are not only more independent, but also more willing to act on their own. I always make sure to value everyone’s work, from the janitor to the sales manager. And this is why we now have a young team of people who commit deeply in their work, with a strong sense of responsibility.

Good leaders (as opposed to managers) need to constantly question themselves, always looking to expand their knowledge. I am personally taking as many courses as I can on self-development. I am also doing sessions with a business/life coach on a monthly basis. This allows me to know myself better (from a professional standpoint)—to know what my inner strengths are and how to implement them on a daily basis when collaborating with my colleagues. I like to think I am (and that we all are) personality and ethics-driven. This allows a smoother communication and more streamlined processes as we take into consideration everyone’s ideas and concerns. Our goal is to give enough space to every team member to innovate.

I believe the new (next?) generation of leaders understands the intricacies of human interaction and the empowering work environment we need to create to retain our best employees. Retaining a team in this current context is not only about money anymore—it’s about having a common purpose that allows people to try new things, and be the better version of themselves every day. I am always requesting that everyone be flexible, but I believe I am also enabling flexibility here at USP Relocations. This is key!

I would summarize with three words that are key for me as the leader I am trying to be every day: direction (giving a clear direction to your team and leading the way to where we as a team want to go), responsibility (with every team member involved and “on a mission”), and purpose (shared goals).

These strange times have shown us that nothing can ever be taken for granted. I believe the future of our industry is in good hands with this new generation of flexible, resilient, and passion-driven people. In return, organizations must adapt to these changing trends and feel the urge to offer a more flexible working environment that emphasizes work-life balance, dynamic or hybrid workflows and processes, remote work, and free-flowing communication.