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3 Ways To Leading Generations Better

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

There are four, and sometime five, different generations in the workplace today.

As a leader how can you create an environment where all these different generations can thrive together to accomplish the goals of the company?

1. Be a Leader vs a Dictator

People have become the largest asset of any company, it makes sense to invest in them as people vs. treating them like machines.  

Many "leaders" are so focused on milestones and projection numbers they begin to become a dictator to their teams. They speak to their teams as if it were a communication transaction or direct order rather than taking an opportunity to build the relationship.

People don't leave companies they leave leaders or managers. If you want to retain the great talent within your company you must build relationships among all your employees. This means being aware how each generation responds to building relationships.

Baby Boomers do best receiving their communication in-person or over the phone and appreciate time spent outside of work.

GenX will respond well to opportunities to lead and express their ideas to improve results that will further their well-experienced career.

Millennials desire to have critical feedback on their work quality and projects in shorter periods of time - rather than waiting for the quarterly or annual review.

GenZ holds certain independence and communicating to them as an individual with how they bring results to the team that will give them a great future is key.

When you know how these generations respond best to their importance to the team and company you will be able to tweak your conversations, meetings, and agendas accordingly on how they will perform best. The cross-generational team will will hold more respect towards your leadership rather than another's dictatorship.

2. Lead with Soft Skills vs Hard Skills

You reap what you sow.

Create a professional development culture within your company so that younger and older employees can learn, practice and compete with good soft skills in today’s business world.

These skills are not just for their current employment, but to help the employee throughout their lifetime - even in times of retirement, when relevant. Leadership isn't just about the company's agenda, it's showing the employees that they matter.

The best way to show them that you, as a leader, care for them is to invest time to know what they want in their long-term visions for their careers and how your leadership can develop the soft skills they require for success.

A few things will occur when your leadership helps develop soft skills among your employees: improved emotional intelligence and stress management, better communication within teams and coworkers, and less time dedicated to "putting out fires."

Improve your own emotional intelligence and invest time into your employees to help them succeed in their long-term goals and you will see your agendas gain faster results.

When leaders invest in their employee's interests, they do better. And, if you are concerned that they will leave once they have hit their desired goals you will be surprised that most will stay because, again, people leave leaders before they will leave a company.

3. Condition Leaders vs. Herding Followers

Seems obvious, but today’s companies and team leaders must allow all employees to be leaders so they can thrive in many different areas within the organization. Instead of focusing on one task, let them experiment, take risks and learn so they become more valuable to the company in the future.

Some employees are just waiting for the chance to shine, share ideas, and show others what they can give. You will be absolutely amazing what your employees can do when given some room to unleash their potential.

As long as the quotas and quality is at the required standards allow your employees to flex their muscles.

All generations want points in their careers where they have opportunities. When they feel that they don't have chances to shine they will take action to move to another company that will.

Final thoughts

You can either adopt these new principles into your business going forward or you can keep doing business as usual. If you choose the latter, you run the risk of becoming irrelevant over time and eventually your results, projections, and agendas will suffer greatly.

Instead of thinking what could go wrong, imagine the possibilities of the amazing outcomes that could occur once obstacles are removed from your employee's pathway.

When you tap into each employee, their generational tendencies and how they imagine their next 5-10 years of their careers you can channel your leadership to align all towards your agendas and company goals.

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