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Leadership Qualities For Influencing Millennials And Gen Z

By | Divyang Metaliya

Gen Y (Millennials) and Gen Z are entering the global workforce and they require new dimensions to leadership. The people from Gen Y (the ‘90s to early 2000s) and Gen Z (born after the late ‘90s) are shaped by different life values. Their experience of life is not limited to physical reality as they grew up in a pro digital environment. Harnessing information with multiple facets, pragmatic, and overall changed behavioral aspects requires a fundamental shift at the top levels of organizations. 

When compared with baby boomers and Gen X-ers, working with them can cause a cultural shock due to the vast generation gap. In particular, the management practices prevalent in the firms cannot handle such changes in the visible workforce without reinventing itself. Working with staff members who learned from both real and virtual experiences on a subject demands a fluidic mindset. Most importantly, hire and fire culture is no longer relevant.   

Today, I am going to discuss the leadership qualities and the ideal persona for influencing the millennials and Gen Z. Buckle up to explore the modern mantras of leadership to attract the top talent and retain your performers. 

Showdown Vintage Vs Modern Aspirations

Vintage generations have grown up mostly under a dictatorship regime, foreign rulership, or during the era of political uprisings. They are more likely to pursue stability and financial security due to the recessions and wars witnessed in childhood. Subsequently, their approach towards work is oriented towards well being, security, and status quo. Businesses had an upper hand. The average employee believed in working with the same employer for at least a decade. They had fixed career objectives, steady job roles, and focused heavily on a single employer-single income lifestyle.

A modern generation grew up in the digital playgrounds and had access to almost ‘unlimited’ information. They profoundly believe in socializing, networking, and have a realistic view of the world. Leaning towards the pragmatic ideology, they don’t entertain the fancy whims of the conservative employment ecosystem. They prefer an environment with inclusiveness and strive to diversify their careers from time to time. They are more into financial security than job security. 79% of millennials go for freelancing right away.

While slogging was the SOP of the past, modern employment is all about dynamism.

I will summarize the leadership qualities into four major dimensions and you can use them proactively in your organization. 

The qualities to attract, constructively engage, and retain your talent from Gen Y and Z

Supportiveness

These folks want a supportive leader who understands contemporary needs. New generations expect inspiring leadership that motivates them beyond their daily tasks. Be it innovative projects or working on cross-functional assignments with remote teams, they want it all. Nurturing their inquisitiveness and valuing their evolving skillset is a must. Subsequently, laying trust is becoming more important than cross-checking the outputs. I find that providing enough space for personal development and sharing responsibilities will work like a charm. 

Currently, the market is overflooded with job applicants, but the quality of talent has diminished. The younger employees will require ‘extra perks’ like work from home policy and flexible timings. They also want techno-savvy and pro-digital working spaces. A supportive torchbearer will receive greater appreciation than the typical C-suite boss.   

Enterprising Nature

Gone are the days when employees sought a nine to five job as the only dimension of their career. Most of the millennials and Gen Z-ers have a ‘side hustle’ beyond their regular office hours. They often take independent projects after working hours. As their employer, supporting their ventures with an enterprising spirit will not only help in retaining them but also attract fresh blood. Having an environment with a high degree of career development is a top agenda for many leaders across the globe. 

Being a generation obsessed with skill development, 86% of these staff members go head over heels for an employer that provides learning opportunities. You can lead the younger staff members easily if you embrace newer technologies, provide regular training, and garner opportunities to work in other domains. These professionals are open to struggle and employers offering mentorship will influence talent like a wildfire. Innovating and enterprising are synonymous with today’s lifestyle. 

Open-Mindedness

As a boss, catering to inclusive company culture is important because the new generation has socialized with different demographics frequently. You need to create opportunities that bring together professionals from different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, and regions. Foster more communication regarding work, methodologies, and curate enough team building activities. Most of the young entrepreneurs including Mark Zuckerburg are known to host parties after work in their initial days. These changes are instrumental in creating more attractive and compelling employer brands. 

On the work front, managers need to abandon traditional expectations from their subordinates. My observations point towards extensive multitasking as an emerging business necessity. Though prior generations focused on getting the ‘expert’ badge, jack of all trades is the new ideal. Managers may find it quirky, but you can expect a mechanical engineering grad working in digital marketing or a doctor working as a musician. Stay open-minded to people working in fields beyond their education. 

Responsive to personal ambitions

Financial security forms the basis of formal engagement with a company, but as we discussed in the above portions, there is more to it. To retain talent, you need to provide them with more diversified job roles from time to time. Organizations will witness a shift towards jobs with increased specialization, unique and ethical qualities. One thing I personally recommend is to pitch work that offers multiple identification types for an individual.

In terms of remuneration. monetary rewards are essential but they are not enough for retaining performers. Recognition is a key driver for new-age employees as they consider personal achievements at par with financial incentives.

Wrapping Up

New generations shall disengage 2x more so make sure to redefine yourself because if there is a problem in a bottle it is at the bottleneck- leadership.


Author Bio:

Divyang Metaliya is a Business Consultant at FactoHR, an India based HR and Payroll Software solution provider. He is a creative business strategist with more than 8 years of experience.

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