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How NOT to lead gen Z

They’ll be changing work as we know it in no time
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What do we know about gen Z aside from the fact that they’re really into this whole TikTok business? Well for starters, they’re tech savvy like no generation before them. They were born in the early 2000s and have never known a world without the internet or mobile phones. They grew up during the global financial crisis (and have lived through the pandemic, like the rest of us), so they’re resilient and adaptive. They’re also hardworking and entrepreneurial, and by next decade, they’ll represent a third of the global workforce.

Given that their numbers are rapidly multiplying (in the workplace at least), it’s important to understand what makes gen Z tick. Believe us when we say that leading this cohort is a whole different experience to what you’ve been used to (sorry to all you ‘ancient’ millennials, gen Xers, baby boomers and whomever else might be reading this).

Gen Z are fiercely independent, so they won’t respond well to micromanaging (hey, who does?), and they value individual expression, so they won’t be pigeonholed. Here are some other valuable factors to consider when leading gen Z colleagues:

  • Keep it personal – Despite their tech skills, gen Z crave human interaction. Studies show they prefer in-person catch-ups with their teams, with one survey revealing that only two per cent of respondents would opt for virtual check-ins if given the choice. So, be sure to schedule some face-to-face time with your people.
  • Brief is best – When catching up with younger workers, be sure to keep your sessions short. According to one survey, 67 per cent of gen Z are comfortable having their manager check in with them, but for five minutes max!
  • Make it about more than money – Yes, gen Z like to be paid, but it’s not all they’re looking for in a job. For one thing, they want flexibility, with more than a quarter of respondents in one study saying they’d work harder and stay longer at a company that supports flexible hours. They also want to know they’re making a positive impact on the world. So, create something bigger than just a job.
  • Provide ongoing stimulation – Learning really is critical to this curious cohort, with 76 per cent seeing it as the key to their advancement. Leaders can leverage this trait by creating an environment that encourages lifelong learning.
  • Don’t hold them back – Like it or not, gen Z are gagging for promotions – in fact, more than three-quarters of them expect it in their first year on the job. Give them opportunities to grow.
  • Develop their entrepreneurial skill set – Sure, your organisation is probably just a stepping stone for a gen Zer’s next venture (91 per cent of them plan to launch their own business at some point). But if you want to keep them motivated to give you their best efforts, nurture an entrepreneurially-minded environment that’ll progress them further along their path.

If you’re looking for some more ideas to help you work effectively with this up-and-coming generation, there are several resources to call on. Zconomy: how gen Z will change the future of business – and what to do about it is a great place to start.

– The Coach Place Global

Image by @Brooke Cagle

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