Why Leaders and Managers Need to Wake Up to Gen Z
In today's rapidly evolving world, a common misconception among leaders and managers is that the way of specific industries and companies must continue without alteration.
While this desire may be out of good intentions, there are several reasons why we all need to wake up to the power of Generation Z, the new generation of leaders in many of our companies, industries, and societies.
Generation Z significantly differs from older generations and current organisational leaders and managers. As the future leaders of our world, Generation Z stands out because of their unique proficiency in social media and the Internet from a young age, which often can be a source of frustration for many of us older leaders who struggle with even something as simple as posting a photo on social media.
Even despite these hurdles, there are several reasons why we need to wake up to Generation Z and see how powerful they truly are, including how much they can benefit our organisations.
Before We Start, Let’s Define Generation Z
You might ask yourself, who exactly is Generation Z, and why are they so special? Generation Z was born between 1996 and 2010 and has been increasingly surrounded by the Internet from a young age. They don't know a world without the Internet, which is crazy to think about for those of older generations who remember what it was like before the advent of computers.
What makes Generation Z so powerful is how they interact with the Internet, new and innovative technology tools, and social media platforms. They understand social media and even live much of their lives on the Internet. Many of them even prefer online communications versus in-person networking and conversations. When you consider they grew up with the internet, this makes sense.
Even with these highly technological tendencies, Generation Z has one significant benefit that we all can learn from: the desire to seek innovative pathways, encourage diversity, inclusion, and further sustainability that promotes the health of our world in its future. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, Generation Z is our future, and there are several lessons they can teach us—even now.
How Can This Internet-Savvy Generation Benefit Our Organisations?
Generation Z can benefit our organisations in many ways. Not only can Generation Z allow us to facilitate beneficial change in how we use technology and leverage it to streamline operations, but they can also allow us to think critically about how we communicate and the modalities we use. In our opinion, adaptability is the number one lesson Generation Z can teach us.
If anything, Generation Z has been nothing but adaptable. Their ability to continuously learn new technology and be on the cutting edge of new developments, even on social media alone, can provide significant learning opportunities for older generations. Even if we learn a fraction of the adaptability they have presented in the short few years they have been in the workforce, our organisations can evolve much faster and with a new mindset for change.
Upward Management and Generation Z: How We Can Unlock an Innovative Future
The term upward management often gets mixed reactions. Still, upward management—that is, the ability of managers and employees to be equally managed from the top and the bottom of the organisation—can be significantly beneficial, especially in the context of Generation Z. Generation Z and our current leaders may disagree on several different subjects, but that doesn't mean that there isn't room for learning and growth from both sides.
With the inclusion of Generation Z in upward management, Generation Z can allow older generations to learn more about technology and current trends and allow our leadership to adapt to the changing workforce. Today's new entrants to the workforce, predominantly Generation Z, require hands-on engagement and want to feel influential in the workplace, especially as true digital natives.
However, this is an opportunity for all of us as leaders to acclimate, become more engaged, and continue managing upward, horizontally, and down, which is going to become a required expectation of most organisations, in our opinion, in the future.
What Does Our Future Look Like Due to Generation Z’s Influence?
Fortunately, Generation Z is already demonstrating exemplary leadership skills, much of which are natural to their workplace abilities. If we allow Generation Z to influence us in the way that we lead, they will continue to lead our organisations and industries into a future where impact matters, where purpose is paramount, and where inclusivity is an expected norm rather than something that is a tick box expectation.
A future with Generation Z could lead us to the most inclusive, beneficial organisations we have ever seen. With their focus on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, inclusivity, and diversity, we could see a future where organisations always benefit their communities, and people finally align with their purpose in their work.
When you combine this with their proficiencies on social media and other digital tools, we have a compelling combination that we believe will change the very nature of our world. And that is why we all need to wake up to Generation Z and see the true power of this expansive, genuinely innovative group of individuals. If we don’t, what kind of future are we working towards? If we allow our management styles and organisations to stay exactly the same, what sort of progress is there?
Learn How to Manage Your Diverse Workplace in 2024
We must see Generation Z for the value they provide to every organisation, so learning how to manage organisations and your diverse workplace is paramount in 2024. Commencing April, in London, we will offer a new course that will add significant value to how you lead and associate with your coworkers.
Delivered by Claire and Ralph Moody, this course is an investment in future-proofing leadership and management approaches to harness the full potential of the emerging workforce. We hope to see you there!
Additionally, we are pleased to announce our upcoming book 'Decoding Gen Z : Bridging the Mindset Gap' designed to guide today's leaders to manage organisations more effectively.
Thanks for Reading
Ralph & Claire Moody