Organizations today are witnessing an increasing number of generations working side by side. Each generation has different values and life experiences that define work culture. They also have their individual leadership styles. It is important to understand that each generation is unique when one attempts to lead people representing different generations.
Born between 1946 and 1964, following World War II, this generation saw a time of increasing affluence and a surge in consumerism. As a generation, they were more active and physically fit than any preceding generation. Their key characteristics are individualism, free-spiritedness, social cause-oriented and experimental. Their leadership style is based on a chain of command.
Millennials, born between 1981 and 2000 were severely impacted by the recession and a period of economic instability. Also known as Generation Y, they are the by-products of the Information Age and are extremely comfortable in the use of social media and digital technology. Their chief aspirations as employees are a fair work balance, flexibility, personal development, honest feedback and above all, recognition.
The Changing Scenario
The composition of the workforce changes as demographics change. The Baby Boomer leaders are getting prepared to hand over the ropes to the Millennials who are expected to account for 50% of the workforce this year. The workplace has changed as well. Hot desking and telecommuting have replaced individual offices and open spaces. Flat management structures have replaced hierarchies in organizations. The rise of the on-demand workforce makes it imperative for businesses to adopt new approaches to the employer-employee relationship.
Leading Boomers vs Leading Millennials
Hard work and loyalty characterize Baby Boomers. They accept the chain of command and are willing to work with others. They expect their managers to lead and direct them towards organizational goals. Let’s have a look at the characteristics that define their leadership style:-
- Resist Change
Millennials, on the other hand, are filled with the zeal to achieve several things in life and preferably excel at what they do. They have no interest in an imposing CEO. They value openness, humility and the importance of recognizing one’s strengths as well as weaknesses.
Characteristics that define their leadership style are:-
- Family -centric
- Risk takers
The leadership styles of leading Boomers and leading Millennials are very different. Millennials would be more comfortable with emails while Baby Boomers would prefer a face-to-face meeting. As a leader, one must focus on what can be done to ensure that there are no clashes and the work environment remains positive.
The key points to handle this transition would be:-
- Career development
- Honest feedback
Transformational Leadership: An Ideal Way to Bridge This Gap
The ideal way to deal with this change is to follow the Transformational leadership style where a leader works with teams to identify change. It entails creating a vision to encourage, inspire and motivate employees to innovate with the ultimate aim of shaping the future success of the company.
Transformational leadership skills can be developed through transformational leadership online courses. Talentedge offers an ideal way to enhance your transformational leadership skills through the Executive Development Program in Transformational Leadership offered by XLRI Jamshedpur. This transformational leadership online course draws from wide-ranging theoretical insights, enabling each individual to leverage his / her unique professional journey.