Are your leadership and management skills equipped to handle a Millennial and Gen Z-majority workforce? By next year, Millennials are forecasted to make up 35 percent of the global workforce, and Gen Z will make up 24 percent – which equates to over half the workforce population. Millennials have been at the forefront of the changing workplace for years. Now, as the oldest Gen Zers graduate from four-year colleges and enter the professional workplace, it is essential to innovate your leadership and management practices so your organization stays ahead of the curve.

Within a business, we need both leaders and managers. Leaders inspire people to take action. Managers hold people accountable for those actions. Leadership is the art of encouraging people to perform assigned tasks willingly, efficiently and effectively. Management is in regards to getting work done on time, on budget and on target. With the upcoming shift in your workforce demographic, now is the time to not only understand the differences between leadership and management, but also how to use these practices in a way that is most effective to your multi-generational workforce.

Leadership is about fostering passion and focus within your organization to influence others.

Some functions of a leader include focusing on the big picture of the company and helping to inspire others through support and communication. Leadership is not determined by the position or title you hold in your company, rather a leader is someone who helps their team find solutions by knowing the right questions to ask them. They focus on the positive, and show appreciation to team members by giving awards and accolades when deserved.

How can you best lead the Millennials and Gen Zers in your workforce?

Lead Millennials through mentorship: Millennials are a generation that appreciates collaboration and relationships. They are motivated by professional growth opportunities and seek a safe environment where they can share and receive feedback on issues that may be affecting their professional and personal success. Create a mentorship program within your organization where you can pair Millennial employees up with those who can offer them greater knowledge, expertise and advice. Leveraging the mentor’s experiences and skills will help them grow further in their career.

Lead Gen Zers through targeted learning opportunities: Generation Z is ambitious, and many individuals in this demographic have entrepreneurial aspirations. With a desire to “hack” their development, they are more interested in learning skills that are specific and relevant to their career, rather than seeking out traditional educational paths. Keep Gen Zers engaged and inspired by providing them with learning opportunities that align with their specific goals and interests. 

Management is about creating a competent and productive team.

As a business executive, management is handed to you along with your job title. Some functions of a manager include creating clear expectations and holding their team accountable getting the results needed in their role. Managers facilitate team meetings to track progress towards goals and review the actions and results of each individual to determine their performance.

How can you best manage the Millennials and Gen Zers in your workforce?

Manage Millennials by giving feedback (early and often): Millennials may get grief about their need for instant gratification, but one way this is demonstrated in the workplace is their desire for ongoing feedback. Many millennials prefer to generate ideas, flesh out part of a plan, and then receive feedback from their manager before diving into the project. They want the ability to share their opinions and bounce around ideas in a constructive environment, as well as having a constant feedback loop. Consider implementing weekly 1-on-1s with your team to touch base and give them the feedback they need to keep projects moving in the right direction.

Manage Gen Zers through healthy competition: Unlike Millennials, Gen Z employees may display a competitive spirit and prefer to work independently. They are hard workers and want to be judged on their own merits rather than those of their team, but they expect rewards for their input. Defining KPIs within specific departments and teams can help your Gen Zers identify what they need to do to succeed. Competition can help drive innovation and encourage accountability, which are characteristics that are highly valued by both Gen Z and Millennial employees. Acknowledge and give praise to those who are doing great work.

As the workforce changes, your leadership and management techniques will need to adapt to attract and retain Millennial and Gen Z employees. Making a few simple changes to the way you lead and manage your team can better prepare your organization for the very near future. Need help implementing a few of these changes within your company? Contact me today.