There’s every chance the way you’ve been leading your teams is due for some fine tuning. The volatile, uncertain and complex world we live in is heading for a perfect human resources storm with five generations in the workplace for the first time ever– bring on 2020!
So far in the workforce, we have the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials, and we’re about to welcome the youngest of the five generations, Gen 2020.
Born around 2000, they’re a highly educated and tech savvy bunch, bound to shake up our ideas of leadership when they hit the workforce towards the end of this decade. The impact of the GFC and resultant economic instability has meant many Traditionalists are still working, so how are a 20 year old and a 78 year old going to get along together, and how are they going to be led?
Leading people and teams with such a range of diversity will be an exciting challenge, pitching traditional leadership styles against the drive for agility, flexibility and ever increasing autonomy in a fast paced, digital and automated world. Retaining employees may prove a test for even the most seasoned leader.
According to the Future Workplace Multiple Generations at Work which surveyed 1,189 employees and 150 managers, 91% of Millennials expect to remain in a job for less than three years. A statistic that translates to 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives! Job hopping may become the acceptable norm, an interesting dilemma for recruiters and employers into the future as they look over CV’s with multiple positions in short periods of time. May be that the best talent has moved around a lot, simply because they believed in following their passion & powering ahead wherever job opportunities became available both nationally and internationally.
With differing values, a wide range of expectations and a huge gap in tech skills in their workforce, leaders are going to need to draw on a very agile leadership toolkit. From experience gained coaching in this space, I would like to share my Top 10:
- PRESENCE: Sit back with a cup of tea and treat yourself to the wise words of Amy Cuddy in which she speaks of the importance of a leader’s body language and the conviction they need to speak with confidence, owning the space and time they are given to speak. To find their voice and confidence, and to listen in a way that has people hanging off their words and remembering what they say. This all adds up to influence… and leaders need it more and more in a digitally distracted world where people are just as likely to be texting on their smart phones in meetings rather than paying attention to what is being said.
- FLEXIBILITY: Leaders will need to understand that their workforce will be asking for flexibility and the ability to work from home on occasion to avoid traffic or take care of a sick child. Life balance means allowing people the opportunity to build diversity into their lives, go to the gym during the working day or attend yoga/meditation classes at work. Millennials and Gen 2020 are likely to prefer working later into the evenings and going home early to spend time with their families. Teleworking policies will be the norm.
- KNOW THE STORIES: Get to know every one of your employees, be interested in their story, what drives them and what they find meaningful – build your trust bank. Show a genuine interest in their hobbies and how they contribute to society in general, and back them when they ask to get involved in a Community based project.
- LEARN COACHING: Learn to ask great questions and become a fantastic listener. Millennials long to contribute creatively and have their ideas heard. Ignore them at your peril, because they will quickly disengage and move on to a workplace where they feel that they can express their creativity and be acknowledged for it.
- STAY CONNECTED: Expect Gen 2020 to be even more wired than the Millennials; their entire lives have been spent under the powerful influence of the World Wide Web, on-line video games, social media, and virtual worlds. As you read this blog, they’re probably updating their Facebook status and snap chatting the latest image. If you’re not on Social Media, it may be time to be open-minded and sign up to a course and start learning the lingo; this way you’ll be able to understand the nuances and the depth of meaning that this medium carries for this generation.
- BE MINDFUL: Understand that leading Mindfully will help you better manage the stress and demands of your position. Better still, create a Mindful program within your organization, as the emotional and physical health benefits are well researched and your organizational ‘weather’ will improve. Google has an amazing program we can all learn from.
- BRAIN SCIENCE: Stay informed about the latest brain neuroscience and how it provides established and emerging leaders with unique perspectives into the workings of the human brain when interacting with others. Develop powerful insights to improve communication, impact and influence.
- KNOW YOUR VALUES: Live and breathe your organizational values and filter them through to every employee. Have them feel invested and proud to be led by someone who walks the talk, and regularly shares how important these values are, influencing every conversation and impacting every decision.
- COMMIT TO COMMUNITY: Align your organization with a meaningful community service or project, perhaps even with one of the United Nations Global Goals. Members of Gen 2020 especially appear to be the most sensitive of all the five groups to environmental problems and related social issues, and working for an organization that addresses these in some way will be important.
- EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Last but not least, understand your own Emotional Intelligence (EQ), where you are competent and your areas for improvement. This is critical to your ability to be an effective leader. Your ability to form and sustain great relationships, manage your own health, well-being and balance will all improve with a rise in your EQ.
A leadership toolkit loaded with all of the above will go a long way to helping you have a thriving team in 2020,