Today’s workforce comprises a record level of four generations, spanning over 70 years of experience, skills, knowledge, and strengths. This makes every team filled with people who have different aspirations, work ethics, and needs. Not only can this make leading them difficult, but it can also create challenges when figuring out how to motivate them toward a common goal. Each generation will have its own necessary means of working, and as a leader, you must adapt.
Ultimately, each generation has its own expectation of how leaders should lead and their own values that they look for in a leader. While you can not be four people at once, you can better understand what each generation needs and create a game plan for being an effective leader to all generations.
Baby Boomers in The Workforce
Baby boomers make up a vast majority of the population, and within the workforce, they are the ones who have been there the longest and already know what they want and need. They are a very loyal generation and tend to stay in the same company for most of their career. Boomers look for strategic and bright leaders in the field who value loyalty and a hard work ethic. They are comfortable taking direction from their leaders and advocate for a task-oriented leader. Baby boomers enjoy leaders who can direct but are not fully hands-on with the organization.
With their knowledge and experience in the industry, leading baby boomers simply might entail herding them in the right direction without hovering over their shoulders and showing appreciation for their longstanding loyalty to the company.
Generation Xers in The Workforce
Generation X prefers leaders that exude workplace culture and values. They look for those who are just as invested in the industry as they are, looking up to them as role models. Gen X wants a leader who will jump in, help when needed, and be there through transition and change to help the whole team adapt and thrive.
To lead Gen X, simply show that you enjoy your job and industry as you normally would. Bring motivation to the workplace and be there to listen to ideas and strategies from those around you. In this case, a supportive and excitable leader is what they want.
Millennials in the Workforce
To lead millennials, be their support and ear more than their authority. They are looking for autonomy in the workplace while also searching for a place that listens and cares about what they offer to projects, processes, and the work environment. They want to be fully aware of what is happening around them, not be kept in the dark about challenges facing the workplace.
Millennials are searching for a team environment more than an authoritative one. Be their support and build them up by working alongside them instead of above them. And most importantly, have open communication.
Generation Zers in the Workforce
Gen Z, the youngest and newest generation in the workforce, seeks leaders with similar values to their own and who can help drive them forward. They want to bring change to the world and plan on using their jobs and aspirations to achieve that goal. They want leaders that will support and advocate for their growth, providing development opportunities and strategies to get them there. Gen Z also looks for those who make decisions alongside the team and listens to their subordinates regarding change.
When leading Gen Z, consider the future and where they will be after you. You want to be their support and bouncing off point for a brighter future. Provide support and utilize their knowledge to develop smart decisions in the workplace.
While each generation seems to want different things, one common factor between all of them is the desire to grow and see their leaders as motivators. Be a leader that multiple generations can admire, and work with your team to create a brighter future. If you have further questions or want to become a stronger leader, contact the team at Wickham James.