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How To Make Gen-Z Better Leaders


If there was a golden thread connecting modern climate activism, TikTok, selfies and a major proportion of the Taylor Swift fandom, what would it be? Yup, it’s Gen-Z! Today, this generation is highly connected to everyone around the world, with different modes and spheres to connect with fellow earthlings (Elon Musk isn’t making it any harder). This revolutionary connectivity is not just for fun; it’s shaping the way Gen-Z interacts with the world and understands it.


As young people all over the world are stepping into the shoes of their leaders, it’s important that they don’t just stop at awareness, but also leverage it to bring together the diverse sets of people they lead! Introduction


Gen-Z, owing to the diverse routes of connectivity to the world - whether it's through the magic of technology, transport systems, or any other scientific advancement - is much more in touch with other parts of the world than previous generations. Spreading awareness about different issues and subjects has also become so much easier than before. 


While these are super facilities of this generation, and also endows them with the superpower of being socially aware about different situations in the world, it's important to note that simply tipping the scales in favour of awareness can be unproductive by itself. Gen-Z is actually in a very good position to put this awareness into action and be sensitive to all the colours in the world, rather than just the black and white. Embracing diversity and being inclusive are two of the many areas in which Gen-Z has the potential to shine through. In realising this potential, they're capable of being highly sensitive leaders, especially in areas like the workplace, which has not always been historically inclusive towards everyone.


To understand how Gen-Z can introduce different models of leadership in the modern and future workplace contexts, let’s put on our swimsuits and dive into our past first! 


A Recap Of The Last ‘Episode’


Historically, leadership in the workplace was often more authoritative and less democratic, with decision-making largely concentrated in upper levels of the company. Leaders tended to be more result-oriented with little consideration for employee sentiments, with employees usually being rewarded for tireless hard work. 


With the emergence of Millenials, things slowly started to change - more open communication at work, input on decisions being taken from subordinates, a bigger focus on innovation, etc. However, the new leaf was only half turned: there was still a tussle between innovative professional structures and traditionally established systems, especially in leadership. 

Let’s Give More Context!

It is without a doubt that these past leadership structures at work often had a negative impact on employees. Authoritative leadership and centralised decision-making often led to a lack of autonomy in employees, stifling their creativity and affecting their morale. Also, predominantly focusing on performance, productivity and results added to stress and created competition among people rather than fostering a collaborative spirit. Although some changes did take off with the advent of millennial leaders, there have been continued inconsistencies within organisations because of generational conflict and tensions between people with different worldviews on progress. What’s Changed?


With the arrival of Gen-Z, the nature of expectations from the workplace changed. Today, there is a stronger emphasis on workplace values like social inclusivity, staying mentally healthy at work, environmentally sustainable practices, work-life balance, and professional development to name a few. This gradual shift towards more inclusive structures with Gen-Z can be attributed to an evolving ability to notice the shortcomings in existing social or professional structures, question those practices and advocate for change. 


Not just this, but today, this generation has the flexibility of steering away from traditional modes of work, whether it is exploring hybrid or remote models, entering the gig economy, or working with internationally spread teams. Adding to this, the employee base (including the leadership) in today’s world has also become more diverse than before. This has created a corresponding list of social and communication skills that Gen-Z employees will need as they move up the ladder and share the crown of leadership with their predecessors. The good part is an already strong foundation of exposure and awareness; now, it’s important to add the next layer and build sensitivity towards everyone they encounter.  How Can Gen-Z Contribute As Leaders?


As more and more young people, especially those from Gen-Z, are stepping up to become leaders and entrepreneurs, one might argue that they don’t have the know-how or the experience to be effective in these roles. However, that doesn’t have to be true. Not only do they have the potential to bring fresh perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking to the table as leaders, but they also have many refinable social and communication skills that are hidden beneath the surface. They also tend to have an innate ability to be open-minded, curious, sensitive, inclusive, mindful of the impacts of their behaviours, tech-savvy and flexible. 


However, as two sides of the same coin, having such strengths can shine a light upon areas that also need to be improved or refined. A lack of experience can potentially lead to overconfidence and short-sightedness. They may also have underdeveloped soft skills or emotional intelligence due to a lack of in-person interactions with a diverse set of people.

How Can They Improve?

One of the best ways in which young people can be trained in the skills necessary to be effective leaders is from well-designed workshops and interventions customised to their needs. It’s a myth that to be leaders, you need to hoard as many technical skills as possible. People skills are also paramount in being successful as a leader. This ensures that their skillset is not unidimensional, but multi-faceted. There are many fun and interactive intervention programs on skills like resilience, emotional intelligence, creativity and mindfulness that can boost the effectiveness of young leaders who want to helm their teams and organisations. Being Zen in the face of challenges, being inclusive towards everybody and minimising biases as much as possible, maximising innovation in the workplace and learning effective conflict management are all real benefits of these workshops!


Apart from formal training, it’s also important to bridge gaps between generations. Senior leaders should routinely check-in with their younger counterparts, collaborating with them on projects and organising peer learning activities with them. This can improve their networking and public speaking skills, which will also come handy for young leaders.

Ending This With Style...

It’s time to pull down the curtains on this discussion. 

Today, Gen-Z as a group is a major proportion of the global workforce. And, leadership roles are being taken up by young people more often than in previous generations. Armed with a myriad of blooming skills brought on by their global exposure to other people, cultures and communities, these young wizards have immense potential to be highly sensitive and inclusive leaders at work. Moreover, they also have an edge over previous generations in knowing how to leverage technology to drive business. However, to unlock their full potential, it’s necessary for these dynamos to be trained extensively on the required skills through engaging and interactive workshops and interventions, along with mentorship from their more experienced colleagues.


Investing in our young leaders not only ensures that they have the necessary skills to lead people well, but also that the future is in great hands!

 

Psst! This blog was made with💚 and created after some thought by a real person.#NoGenerativeAI





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