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Adapting Leaders to Generations Y and Z

by Mickey Castillo 4 months ago in advice
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What type of leader are you?

Adapting Leaders to Generations Y and Z
Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

Since there has been business on this earth, and even before, when the first centers for the production of goods appeared, at least three generations have gathered in these places who have worked and continue to work side by side.

In the last 50 years, and especially in the last 20 years, the number has increased to four.

This agglomeration of ages and levels of personal development creates in itself a difficult social problem to manage for the manager who needs results, and for the leader who needs to influence and inspire.

At first glance, the keyword seems to be the adaptation of leaders to generations Y and Z, the adaptation of these generations to the existing norms in the organization, and the adaptation of communication and leadership efforts to create valid bridges between visions about life and work.

I would position these new "bridges" in 3 fundamental directions:

1. Communication style

The big difference between the communication styles of the more experienced and the younger generations has already become a cliché.

Generations Y and Z send text messages, statuses, tweets. I use instant messaging and video content, while seniors prefer to talk on the phone, meet face to face, and eventually send e-mails.

Moreover, generations Y and Z are increasingly using paralanguages ​​in business: abbreviations of unorthodox words, emoticons, and expressions, which in itself creates disruptions in the communication process between these generations.

The most common break-in intergenerational communication is the classic "disrespect": once approached in colloquial language and with many paralinguistic signs, "old people" tend to perceive this as a lack of formality, which is automatically translated as a lack of respect.

And, to close the circle, the frustration due to the presumption of disrespect translates back, to the younger generations, through a distant and uncommitted attitude.

2. Negative stereotypes

We are attacked by a lot of negative stereotypes specific to each of the four generations.

It makes no sense to list them here, but these stereotypes, once dissolved, can create very strong transgenerational ties.

What matters is that the members of the multi-generational teams define a common vision of success and a common way to achieve it. Here I am referring strictly to an ethic of work put together.

Moreover, it is necessary to explore and establish who, when, and how can far exceed the expectations of others.

Thus, a very good balance can be obtained between the value of the experience of the elderly and the need for exploration, and the overflowing enthusiasm of the young.

3. Organizational culture

I believe that the most important change in organizational cultures, with the advent of Generation Y in the labor market, has been and continues to be the drastic recalibration of the balance between personal and professional life.

Generation X has sacrificed its personal life for the professional one, generation Y has no motivation to do so, seeing its parents.

Organizational cultures that quickly understood this managed to incorporate into work practices initiatives such as flexible hours, work from home, or on the other hand, the creation of alternative spaces, even playgrounds for generations Y and Z.

In my coaching practice, I noticed that these three pillars of transgenerational management are given more importance than necessary.

Why? Because the main problem is rarely addressed in most organizations in the Southeast European cultural space, this problem can be defined in any answer to the following question: how can you design a creative and collaborative organizational space for all those you include?

Because the challenge of transgenerational management is the fundamental secular challenge of human group management: how can they grow together, in interactions that make sense and add value at all times?

I conclude here, not before recommending a reflection on the classical answers, from the dawn of Western civilization.


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Mickey Castillo

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