Leadership in the digital age is rapidly evolving as businesses adapt to the entrepreneurial changes brought about by technology. It’s more important than ever for leaders to stay ahead of the curve and capitalize on the digital revolution. But what does leadership entail in this digital era? Take it from the perspective of a Gen-Z leader, Matthew Schneider, the e-States PropTech, Inc. CEO.
His entrepreneurial journey started in high school when he published a 90,000-word novel as a sophomore. Later in life, he tried to produce music, but his creative pursuit didn’t gain traction. Matthew then co-founded a stock market analysis group with some friends. But after having his fair share of life-saving losses, he realized it wasn’t the route for him.
Eventually, Matthew had one conversation with his cousin, and his commercial real estate business came to life.
Matthew’s real estate business aims to provide software solutions by synchronizing fundraising, investing, and property management. It seeks to remove entry barriers by bringing in new technologies, helping investors gain capital, and allowing stakeholders to invest in high-quality properties.
Here’s what he had to say and what we can learn, “If I put my mind to something, I could accomplish some pretty cool things.” What a great way for a Gen Zer to put things in perspective!
In our latest episode of TL;DR by Jolly SEO, Matthew Schneider talked about leadership in the digital era. Read below to gain some unique perspectives from a Gen-Z business leader, or listen to the podcast here:
What “Leadership In the Digital Age” Means from a Gen-Z Perspective
Morgan Taylor, co-founder of Jolly SEO and podcast host, asked: “What does leadership mean for Generation Z?”
Matthew thought about defining leadership first. “Leadership, as I’ve come to know, is just the relationships I have with other people. Every opportunity to lead is just a chance for me to influence someone else’s thoughts and likewise to be influenced by them.”
But as a 21-year-old entrepreneur, he argues that being in a leadership role is a bit tricky. That influence usually relies on experience, good judgment, wisdom, intelligence, and other attributes. Unfortunately, Generation Z is often deemed less intelligent and naive, so being a Gen Z leader is always challenging.
As such, he advised, “For those who want to step up as a leader, we have the responsibility to set ourselves apart from others and demonstrate that. While we might be younger, our insights and perspectives can be valuable to the industry we’re serving.”
The Leadership Advantages and Unique Perspectives of the Generation Z
Morgan asked what kind of advantages and unique perspectives Gen Zers have as a new breed of business leaders. Matthew mentioned their generation’s free spirit.
To justify his point, he emphasized that most Gen Zers have not experienced traditional corporate settings due to the impact of COVID-19. Many have worked remotely rather than in an office.
Remote working has changed the business world and is shaping the future of work. Matthew stressed that Gen Zers, being free-spirited, align with these changes. “They are the kind who won’t conform to the traditional way of employment. They will bend the rules.”
Recommended Leadership Strategies for Gen Zers
Matthew Schneider delved deeper into several facets of business leadership. However, he shared some Gen-Z leadership strategies that would work in today’s business landscape. These recommended tactics can be summed up into four:
- Implementing a Decentralized Chain of Command: Matthew works with remote employees in the U.S. and other parts of the world. However, he doesn’t employ micromanagement. He sets expectations and allows employees to lead in their areas of interest.
He believes that a decentralized command can empower businesses. With this in place, companies can run more efficiently. By operating on their autonomy, remote employees can get more tasks done while enjoying freedom and having no resentment.
- Balancing Personal and Professional Lives: Mathew doesn’t have a strict line between life and work; he doesn’t mind work interjecting with his routine life and allows people to contact him anytime.
He argued that the total time he spends in this remote setup is less than when he works for eight hours in the office. Morgan reinforced this by saying that young professionals have all the time and energy to capitalize on this exciting ownership experience.
- Maintaining Human Elements: Matthew emphasized the importance of human connection as the foundation of trust, transparency, and honesty in business. They only use technology to “enhance human interactions, but not to replace traditional human relationships.”
Morgan emphasized the importance of human connections in business. Meeting the management team in person made him realize that colleagues appear differently in real life than they do on digital platforms.
- Leveraging Digital Tools and Technologies: Matthew stressed the importance of today’s technological resources. He uses a few digital tools and communications technology for his business. These include Notion for project management, Slack for business communication, and GoogleMeet for business meetings.
The Role of AI and Blockchain Technology in Business
Matthew uses AI and blockchain to improve their commercial real estate business and is optimistic about the benefits of leveraging these resources in the financial services, software solutions, and real estate industries.
The power of automation for service efficiency and data accuracy was mentioned as an example. It helps in various back-office processes in real estate by automating tasks and taking traditional human jobs. That’s why he suggested adopting this technology in every possible facet.
They have plans to continue incorporating AI into their business software. Matthew thinks it’s changing the financial industry by making this sector “accessible, understandable, fast, streamlined, and simple.”
Morgan asked if such accessibility might put large demographics at risk. Matthew assured him there’s considerable federal oversight in investing, so they plan to democratize it. However, he doesn’t necessarily think people are more at risk YET.
About the use of AI in business, Matthew uses language models for communication, AI-powered tools for accounting and banking, and machine learning (ML) for financial analysis and forecasting.
However, he said, “I never ever depend on AI to get anything done, but I do let it enhance some things that I’m doing. He continued, “I don’t necessarily use AI as a new perspective, but I do use it as an alternative perspective.”
As a Gen-Z leader, Matthew Schneider has so much on his plate and hopes to share his perspective with others, especially with fellow Gen-Zers.
However, he thinks it’s hard to find Gen-Z leaders since most still have a long way to go in the business realm. “It’s a little bit lonely, but I’d love to do networking with like-minded individuals.”
To conclude the insightful discussion, Morgan asked about Matthew’s prediction for the future of business leadership. The biggest question is: What does a CEO look like in 2030?
“It’s hard to say. The more we look to the future, the more we might be incorrect,” Matthew said. However, he believes that the authority and effectiveness of the next leader is to adapt to the unknown.
He capped the podcast by saying, “Adaptability is the ability to leverage technology in a positive, meaningful way while maintaining the human elements.”