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4/22/2024 | Competence

5 tips to lead Generation Z

5 Golden Tips To Lead Generation Z
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Generation Z was born between 1995 and 2010. It is the generation now entering the job market. The fact that a new generation is starting careers is nothing new in itself, but the way Generation Z looks at the job market and career makes it special. The vast differences between Generation Z and earlier generations can present challenges for executives. How do you deal with these challenges? And what can you do to better guide Generation Z to get the most out of them? This article gives you 5 golden tips.

Who is Generation Z?

Let's start with a brief explanation of exactly who Generation Z is and what makes them "different" from previous generations. To start with the most important characteristic of Generation Z: their digital proficiency. This group of young people has grown up with a vast array of digital and technological options. Laptops, smartphones and tablets have become an essential part of their lives over the years. They deal more freely and easily with their online identities and have a better awareness of both the potential opportunities and dangers of the online landscape. 

In addition, and this is perhaps the most important characteristic to remember, Generation Z is constantly seeking fulfillment. This characteristic often leads Generation Z to look and ask for "fun" work. Work that makes them happy. Due to the social-media culture that has emerged in recent years, the fun aspects of life are mainly highlighted, with the result that this generation is not always aware that there are also less fun aspects to (working) life. 

Generation Z is self-sufficient. When they don't know how to do something the answer is always a few clicks away. After all, Google knows everything right? Finally, Generation Z values work-life balance.  It's about working so one can live and not living to work. It is an ambitious generation, which knows what it wants, and is constantly looking for opportunities and development possibilities.

5 tips for managing Generation Z

This different view of working life is still challenging for many leaders. How do you ensure that you engage your employees enthusiastically and productively, while not losing sight of organizational goals? Of course, there is also work to be done and money to be made for the organization. Below we give you 5 tips to achieve this.

Tip 1: Understanding Generation Z

Understanding is the most important tip we can give you. One generation is not the other and understanding each other makes collaboration a lot easier anyway. There are big differences between Generation Z and earlier generations. Bridging those differences requires understanding, and to achieve that, you need to start talking. Talk to your younger employees and ask what they need, what makes them happy. Also state clearly what their and your expectations are when it comes to their work and working hours. Mutual understanding will get you a long way.

Tip 2: Involve Generation Z in work and organization

Managers of Generation Z are mostly from earlier generations. Generations that view work-life balance differently and are used to employees being fully (110%) committed to work. Earlier generations often go out of their way to leave the best possible impression. That's how they were raised. As an employee, this can sometimes make Generation Z come across as somewhat disinterested and lazy. After all, they are very different. They do not want overcrowded work weeks, so they are fine with working 30 or 35 hours a week. They prefer not to work overtime.

Yet it is not that Generation Z does not consider their work or organization important. It is that they consider their personal well-being more important than that of the organization. And so they want to be involved in what their work entails and have clear goals. It is up to managers to involve and motivate them. Involve them in decisions. Make sure they have room to express their opinions. Then leading Generation Z is not at all different from leading previous generations.

Tip 3: Create a positive work atmosphere

A good atmosphere in the workplace is important for everyone. But Generation Z values it even more. It is a generation looking for the perfect job in work and environment. They are looking for a workplace that provides space for their creativity and where relationships with colleagues are almost amicable. Managers of Generation Z employees need to be aware of this.

Generation Z expects a manager who dares to be himself, without all the political games that sometimes go on in the workplace. It is a generation that is not at all hierarchical and a personal and pleasant cooperation with a manager is therefore a must. As a manager, show positive and sincere attention to not only the work and performance of your team, but also to the team members as individuals. By doing so, you will achieve a positive work atmosphere and satisfaction among your employees.

Tip 4: Provide flexibility

Flexibility within work is a must. No this generation does not want to work only from home, but they do want to have the possibility, to a certain extent, to plan their own working hours. For example, it is very normal for this generation to take an hour to work when they come back from exercising, or during the train ride on the way home. Working days of 9-5 are old-fashioned, and they prefer to take control of their work to fit their lives as closely as possible. Generation Z values their free time very highly; working five days a week and two days on the weekend is not a good work-life balance. 

So as a manager, it is important to go along with these wishes. Of course, it is not always possible to leave working hours completely free. Speak expectations to each other and make agreements about when to be in the office and when to be at home. Also be careful not to micro-manage. Don't check every task and don't sit on top of it too much, but steer by output. As long as the output is good and sufficient, everyone is happy. 

Tip 5: Provide regular feedback

Generation Z likes to be managed based on regular feedback. Not only the feedback en sich, but especially the personal connection that arises is important to Generation Z. So forget the annual progress meeting very quickly. This generation likes to have weekly or monthly conversations. It is important to communicate sincerely here. Receiving criticism is not a bad thing, this allows one to grow and develop faster and that is what this generation is striving for. And rest assured the feedback conversation really doesn't have to last hours, ten minutes will do.

As mentioned earlier, this generation needs a personal connection with colleagues and managers. The way of getting feedback is also allowed to be personal. A compliment, a pat on the back or a quick reference to something that went less well. Give personal and especially verbal feedback. Make sure you are not just sending. In the buckle up, also ask for and accept their opinion on how things are going.

So how are you going to lead Generation Z?

Above all, it's about understanding this generation. There are big differences between Generation Z and earlier generations. Understand and accept these differences and act accordingly within your team. If you have team members from Generation Z in your team, the tips above are important to remember. It is all about building a personal bond and giving them the space to plan their working life in the way that works best for them. Dare to give responsibility and involve them in decisions. 

Would you like to learn more about leadership styles? What form of leader you can be in what situation? Competence offers several courses that fit this perfectly such as the Leadership Experience by Co-Active and the Relevance Leadership courses.

Feel free to take a look at our website for these courses or contact our training consultants. They are happy to answer your questions and think along with you.

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