Leading five generations
With most of the workforce containing five generations of employees, you can no longer lead in one form. This is why the Coaching Industry made $15 billion in 2019, mostly to hire a Coach to help with a leadership transition. So here are three tips for effective leadership to lead all generations:
Coaching vs. Control
A popular (but outdated) leadership style has the leader take complete control and be the center of all decision making (remind you of anyone?). If your team doesn’t feel like they have a say in how things get done, they might buy out. What is worse? Your staff can disengage altogether. Then results are impacted, which then affects morale, and now you’ve got a team that feels unsafe, undervalued, AND unmotivated.
Instead, consider putting Generation X team members in mentoring roles to grow and have a stake in the decision making. This shift in style works well for Generation Xers who enjoy freedom but have the experience to help Millenials grow. Generation X makes up over one-third of the workforce, so it is vital to keep them engaged.
MVP vs. Team Players
If you are always praising your Most Valuable Player and suddenly they jump ship (aka Jerry Maguire style), then it is time to encourage the rest of the team to step up. Generation Zers are new to the workforce and are highly motivated by competition. Their need to feel both challenged and included serves them well in a growing company with a culture that supports it.
Firm vs. flexible
A strict work environment worked for Baby Boomers, but the best way to lead Millennials is by being flexible and supportive. Millennials are driven by the desire to find a life purpose, so make sure you listen to feedback and create a positive work culture. This will show your staff they’re valued and encouraged to succeed in all areas of their lives – not just work.
Does leading five generations at once have you feeling slightly confused? No worries!
Teams don’t expect perfect leaders they want leaders who show up and do their best. Kind of like how leaders expect the same from team members. Reasonable, right?
Start where you are and take the first step. You can do it! And if you think you can’t, send me a note and I’ll remind you why you can.