Ready or not, Gen Z is redefining leadership in the workplace. Gen Zers were born after 1996 and have had access to computers, smartphones, and the Internet their entire lives. That’s why people of this generation are known as “digital natives.” They’ve never lived in a world that wasn’t completely connected.
Currently, most organizations have four generations of professionals working together. Each generation brings its own set of strengths and weaknesses to the table. In addition, each generation responds differently to varying leadership strategies. However, the younger generations have grown up surrounded by technology and have a digital connection to the world around them, setting their workplace expectations.
Today, Gen Z workers are driven by professional growth. Compared to other generations, cookie-cutter approaches to management solutions and traditional recruitment efforts don’t work as well with Gen Z, which creates new challenges in the workforce. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to better understand what type of leadership works well with Gen Z.
Gen Z employees are also highly motivated by rewards and recognition. Although considered “digital natives," they crave frequent, in-person feedback. Understanding the mindset of Gen Zers is imperative to understanding effective leadership strategies that will resonate with them. Here are five effective leadership strategies to practice while working with Gen Z:
In a fast-paced business world, timely feedback to a Gen Zer is crucial. They crave immediate coaching and feedback that correlates directly to the project they are working on. Traditional mid-year and year-end reviews may be “too little, too late.” Setting up frequent touchpoints to share feedback is pivotal.
When meeting with Gen Z employees, ask open-ended questions. This method is two-fold; it encourages self-evaluation and empowers the individual. Thought-provoking questions (e.g., What’s on your mind? How can I help you? What are the daily challenges you face?) should be used to help guide the discussion. No one wants to be told what to do. That’s why a dialogue that allows Gen Z employees to be open and honest is important. Creating a positive environment promotes more trust and better communication for all discussions, now and in the future.
Gen Z workers want to learn practical and valuable things that accelerate and expand their growth potential. One great way to do this is by promoting self-learning and re-fashioning challenges. That allows Gen Zers to work closely on specific projects they are interested in. By creating learning opportunities, you will drive passion and devotion to projects.
Have you ever witnessed someone work harder if you give them a pat on the back or acknowledge their hard work? The same concept applies when working with Gen Z. They will work extremely hard if they know there is something in it for them. On the other side of the coin, Gen Z employees will seek opportunities elsewhere if they feel like they aren’t recognized. Creating a culture where a good job is recognized rather than ignored fosters a positive environment. As a bonus, develop benefits or perks as Gen Z workers reach milestones.
Clear and concise communication is the most effective communication method when working with a Gen Z employee. Ensure that you are transparent and honest when providing feedback. By being transparent, you are demonstrating a commitment to the development of that employee. Consistent messaging and open and honest feedback showcases your commitment to helping the Gen Z employee grow and thrive within the organization.
Learn more about Gen Z and the effective leadership strategies required to take your company to the next level with the latest generation entering the workforce.
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